Costa Rica run out 1-0 winners at Hampden
Vauxhall International Challenge Match
Scotland 0-1 Costa Rica
Friday, 23 March, kick-off 7.45pm
Costa Rica: Macros Ureha (14 minutes)
In Scotland’s first match of 2018, they lost out to Costa Rica 1-0 at Hampden Park.
Alex McLeish’s side were 1-0 down at the break but in the second period they were the more dominant side and unable to find the back of the net.
In McLeish’s first match back in charge of the national team there were four debutants in the starting line-up with Scott McKenna, Scott McTominay, Kevin McDonald and Oliver McBurnie all named.
McLeish employed a 5-4-1 formation where Cairney and Ritchie were on the flanks and McBurnie led the forward line himself.
Costa Rica fielded a strong side including double Champions League winner Keilor Navas.
Following a fairly quiet opening, Costa Rica took the lead after 14 minutes when Bryan Oviedo was released on the left wing and he crossed to Marcos Ureha. The Los Angeles FC striker then steered the ball into the corner beyond Allan McGregor.
Scotland were quick to retaliate and went close with Callum Paterson who rose highest at a corner but his header flew over the bar.
Oliver McBurnie was rewarded with his first call up to the national team following impressive performances for Barnsley and he forced Navas into a good save when he unleashed a shot from the edge of the box.
At the break, Scotland were behind 1-0.
Costa Rica nearly made it two at the start of the second half when former Fulham playmaker Bryan Ruiz darted inside and crashed the ball off the crossbar.
Newcastle United’s Matt Richie saw a lot of the ball in the second half as Scotland looked for an equaliser.
He was close to scoring the leveller with 65 minutes on the clock when he was released by substitute Callum McGregor. The winger forced Navas into a smart save and the ball landed on the roof of the net.
McBurnie had been a constant pest for the Costa Rica rear guard and he nearly scored on his debut when Robertson sent a low cross into the box but the Barnsley striker was unable to gain contact on the ball.
As the game progressed Alex McLeish made a raft of substitutes including Celtic duo Stuart Armstrong and Calum McGregor who bolstered the attacking options.
Andy Robertson continued his promising form for Liverpool and was a consistent threat down the left flank. With the game edging to a close he assisted Ritchie but he was unable to get a strong shot away and Costa Rica saw out the game to secure the win.
Scotland now play Hungary on Tuesday, 27 March in Budapest as preparations for the Nations League continue. Away matches in Peru and Mexico will follow in the summer.
Scotland: McGregor, Paterson, Hanley, Mulgrew (McGinn, 81), McKenna, McTominay (Armstrong, 57), McDonald, McBurnie (Phillips, 76), Cairney (McGregor, 57), Ritchie (Murphy, 86)
Unused substitutes: Archer, McLaughlin, Christie, Forrest, Douglas, Cummings, McLean, Fraser, Hendry
Costa Rica: Navas, Acosta, Gonzalez, Duarte, Gamboa (Smith, 74) Oviedo (Calvo, 77), Borges, Guzman, (Tejeda, 55) Ruiz, Colindres (Wallace, 63), Urena
Unused substitutes: Moreira, Briceno, Segura, Ruiz, Mitchel, Azofeifa, Waston, Gutierrez