Austria v Scotland
Tuesday, 29 March, kick-off 7.45pm (UK)
Ernst Happel Stadion, Wien
Hendry (27), McGinn (56); Gregorotisch (75), Schöpf (82)
Scotland extended their unbeaten run to eight consecutive matches as they left Vienna with a 2-2 draw in the second match of the March international period.
Jack Hendry scored his second international goal to open the scoring while John McGinn smashed in his 12th goal on the international scene in what is already a contender for Scotland goal of the season.
Craig Gordon made a string of excellent saves to thwart the hosts but Scotland will be disappointed to not have won the game after surrendering a two goal lead.
Scotland captain Andy Robertson returned to the side after missing the friendly against Poland last week due to illness. Aberdeen midfielder was handed a first start for his nation in midfield, while Ryan Jack earned his first start for his country since November 2019.
Jack Hendry replaced Scott McTominay in the centre of defence, while Stuart Armstrong came in for Ryan Christie to support club teammate Che Adams in attack.
Craig Gordon moved outright into the top ten most capped Scotland internationalists overtaking Willie Miller, with whom he had drawn level last week.
As It Happened
Scotland began brightly, taking less than three minutes to carve out their first opportunity. A well-worked intricate passing move on the right of the box involving Adams, Patterson and Armstrong saw the Southampton midfielder play an accurate ball into John McGinn in the box, his first-time powerful half-volley unfortunately straight at Bachmann.
Austria didn’t take long to show they too offered a threat, forcing a very good save from Craig Gordon after six minutes with Scotland defending the resulting corner comfortably.
No sooner had they nullified the danger than McGinn again found himself with a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring. Armstrong again worked himself some space, this time in a central position, his through ball perfectly weighted for the on-rushing McGinn in the box. The Aston Villa midfielder opened his body trying to steer the ball into the far corner only to watch it roll agonisingly wide.
The match continued in its entertaining, open fashion, with Kalajdzic getting on the end of a dangerous cross to the near post with a well-timed run across goal. His low strike again brought out a good save from Craig Gordon, this time with his left foot from a first-time low effort.
As the hosts ought to make the most of a good spell of possession Craig Gordon again came to Scotland’s rescue, this time from Austrian talisman Arnautovic. The Austrians worked a good move down their left-hand side with the big forward arriving at pace to strike a powerful effort on goal of which Gordon was the equal, the Scotland keeper getting his full body behind it with an instinctive diving save to push it to safety.
Clarke’s side were the next to threaten as Adams worked some space in the box on 26 minutes only to see his low drive deflected wide at the near post. Andy Robertson read play well to intercept possession on the half way line before driving forward and playing an accurate ball across the field into Adams, who was unlucky not to add to his tally in Scotland colours.
The resulting corner proved crucial though, as Scotland capitalised to take the lead. A deep in-swinging corner from John McGinn saw Grant Hanley outjump his man to rattle the crossbar from a tight angle. Jack Hendry was the quickest to react as he bravely nodded the ball over the line under pressure from one yard out for his second goal in Scotland colours.
The first half played out with no other clear-cut chances for either side. Both sides probed on occasion with Arnautovic at the heart of play for the hosts, but Scotland were composed in possession and in defence to go in with the lead at half time.
With no changes at half time Austria sought to get themselves back into the game from the kick-off, their intent producing a few minor scares for Scotland that they were ultimately able to clear.
With ten minutes of the second half gone Scotland doubled their lead in spectacular fashion. Robertson and Tierney utilised the symbiotic relationship they have developed to release Tierney down the left, his perfectly placed cutback landing with pinpoint accuracy in front of John McGinn who smashed an unstoppable first time left footed drive high into the back of the net from eight yards out for his twelfth Scotland goal.
Steve Clarke then opted for his first changes of the night with a triple substitution, Stephen O’Donnell, Scott McTominay and Aaron Hickey replacing Nathan Patterson, Ryan Jack and Andy Robertson respectively, with John McGinn taking the captain’s armband from Robertson.
Scotland talisman Lyndon Dykes, whose goals for Scotland earned eight points in the qualification campaign last year – more than any player for another European side – then made his first appearance for Scotland since October last year as he replaced Che Adams on 66 minutes to rapturous cheers from the Scotland support.
Craig Gordon again showed age is no barrier to him with a stretching save on 72 minutes, Hinteregger letting rip with his left peg from 20 yards only to see Gordon push it away low to his left, the resulting corner comfortably defended by Scotland.
Gordon was finally beaten minutes later though, Austrian sub Gregoritsch managing to peel off the back of Hanley to plant a header into the net for what was only the fourth goal Scotland had conceded in their last eight matches.
With their tails now up as they pushed for an equaliser, Clarke sought to take the sting out of the match with another double substitution, Ryan Christie replacing Stuart Armstrong and Billy Gilmour replacing Lewis Ferguson on the 77th minute.
Austria snatched an equaliser on the 82nd minute, a scramble in the box eventually working its way to Schöpf on the edge of the box whose low drive from 18 yards came through a huddle of bodies and nestled in the Scotland net.
Moments later Schöpf found himself with another sight on goal as he was played in from 30 yards out. As he bore down on goal Craig Gordon rushed out and made yet another fine save to deny Austria a third.
With the hosts unable to fashion any other clear-cut chances as they pushed for a winner Scotland ended the March international period unbeaten, in the process extending their unbeaten run to eight consecutive matches.
Scotland: Gordon, Hendry, Hanley, Tierney, Patterson (O’Donnell 58), Jack (McTominay 58), Ferguson (Gilmour 77), Robertson (Hickey 58), Armstrong (Christie 77), McGinn, Adams (Dykes 66).
Unused Substitutes: Clark (Gk), Kelly (Gk), McGregor, Halkett, Brown, Taylor.
Austria: Bachmann (Pentz 87), Ilsanker (Weimann 74), Dragovic, Hinteregger, Lazaro, Lainer (Grüll 60), Sabitzer, Ulmer (Ullmann 87), Baungartner (Schöpf 59), Kalajdzic (Gregoritsch 74), Arnautovic
Unused Substitutes: Laimer