2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Scotland 2-0 Malta
Monday, 4 September 2017, kick-off 7.45pm (UK time)
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Scotland: Berra (8), Griffiths (48)
Everything went Scotland’s way at Hampden on a night where it had to.
Scotland ran out comfortable winners over Malta, and England defeated Slovakia at Wembley 2-1.
The two results mean Scotland lie just one point behind second-placed Slovakia when they come to Hampden on Thursday, 5 October before the final match against Slovenia three days later.
Gordon Strachan’s side started brightly in front of a buoyant home support and took the lead through Christophe Berra. The Malta goal was then peppered with shots and lived a charmed life in the opening 20 minutes.
Leigh Griffiths sealed the three points when he tapped home just after half-time from close range.
Scotland were unchanged from the side that romped to victory in Vilnius and started with intent from the outset against Malta with Armstrong seeing a shot whistle by the post in the first five minutes.
James McArthur also went close along with James Forrest on a night where Scotland were on the goal hunt.
It was little surprise when Christophe Berra opened the scoring after eight minutes when he latched onto a Griffiths corner and headed the ball into the net.
The barrage continued just five minutes later but this time Armstrong smashed the side netting.
Malta were struggling to contain the focused Scots and Magri was close to scoring an own goal when he tried to clear a Forrest cross.
In the first period Scotland had around 70% of the possession but as the half drew to a close, Scotland’s attacking threat diminished somewhat.
The second half started similarly to the first though and Scotland soon had two when Andy Robertson crossed to substitute, James Morrison who smashed the post and Griffiths was on hand to score his third at Hampden in two games.
Griffiths then picked up a knock after 70 minutes with Chris Martin taking his place and Scotland saw out the game to ensure that the World Cup qualification quest continues into October.
Scotland | Gordon, Tierney, Robertson, Berra, Mulgrew (Hanley, 55), Brown (C), McArthur (Morrison, 45), Armstrong, Forrest, Phillips, Griffiths (C Martin, 70)
Unused substitutes: Archer, McGregor, Anya, Naismith, Ritchie, Snodgrass, Fraser, McGinn, R Martin
Malta | Hogg, Magri, Borg, Agius, Fenech, Schembri (C), Z Muscat, Kristensen (Fenech, 84), Zerafa, Effiong, Pisani
Unused substitutes: Bonello, A Muscat, Failla, Mifsud, Gambin, Farrugia, Borg, Johnson