2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Scotland 1-0 Slovenia
Sunday, 26 March 2017, kick-off 7.45pm
Chris Martin (88)
Scotland’s World Cup qualification hopes are still alive after a Chris Martin strike provided the winner on a heart-stopping night at Hampden.
The goal moves Scotland up a spot and within two points of second place.
Scotland hit the woodwork twice, had a goal disallowed and the ball cleared off the line during a lively first half but it took until the 88th minute for Fulham striker Chris Martin to slot home a memorable winner.
The result now leaves Scotland with a fighting chance of finishing in second ahead of the derby match against England on 10 June.
Scotland were dominant throughout with Slovenia looking frustrated and diving into challenges, trying to upset the home side but their attempts proved to be in vain.
The game was do or die and from the outset it was evident Scotland were gunning for victory in what was a whirlwind first five minutes.
Russell Martin had an early chance and saw Jan Oblak pull off a magnificent save, diving to his right and preventing a certain goal.
Slovenia burst forward at the other end with Andy Robertson putting in an expert tackle.
Scotland were playing with a buoyancy and determination, livening the Hampden crowd who were off their seats when Russell Martin hit the back of the net with a header in the first 10 minutes.
The goal was disallowed following an adjudged illegal jostle in the box involving the Norwich captain.
The game was one to keep your heart beating fast with Craig Gordon having to deal with Roman Bezjak after 16 minutes when he ran clean through on goal and the Celtic number one pulled on a solid block.
The hosts were probing all the time and James Morrison saw a wicked drive kiss the side netting as the nation hoped the ball would have travelled a couple of inches to the right.
Just after half an hour on the clock, the crowd were left in disbelief following three well-worked chances that went so close.
Leigh Griffiths thought he’d scored his first goal for Scotland when he latched onto a Snodgrass cross but saw the ball despairingly hit the crossbar.
On his debut Armstrong powered into the box just a minute later setting up Griffiths who smashed the post with a right-foot attempt.
James Morrison then saw a header cleared off the line meaning the scores were somehow goalless at the break.
Leigh Griffiths was unable to score the goal he deserved and was forced off at the start of the second half after being kneed in the back.
Wednesday’s goalscorer Steven Naismith was his replacement.
The match went into a lull but on 73 minutes, Snodgrass missed a chance and was replaced by Anya who, with his first touch of the ball only had the goalkeeper to beat inside the box and hit it straight into the arms of Jan Oblak.
Chris Martin was also put onto the field of play as a last throw of the dice and the decision paid dividends for Gordon Strachan.
With two minutes to go, man of the match Stuart Armstrong played a good through-ball which Chris Martin slotted home much to the delight of the supporters inside Hampden Park.
Scotland | Gordon, Tierney, Mulgrew, R. Martin, Robertson, Brown (Captain), Morrison (C. Martin, 80) Forrest, Armstrong, Snodgrass (Anya, 73), Griffiths (Naismith, 49)
Unused substitutes: Hamilton, McGregor, Berra, D. Fletcher, Bannan, Ritchie, McGinn, Cairney, Rhodes.
Slovenia | Oblak, Samardzic, Cesar (Captain) Krhin, Llicic, Kurtic, Birsa (Beric, 68) Jokic, Bezjak (Verbic 58), Kampl, Struna
Unused substitutes: Koprivec, Belec, Sirok, Krajnc, Novakavoic, Struna, Mevlja, Omladic, Zajc, Crnic