UEFA Nations League Group B2
Scotland 1-0 Czech Republic
Wednesday, 14 October 2020, kick-off 7.45pm
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Scotland: Ryan Fraser (6’)
An early goal from Ryan Fraser sealed another memorable victory at Hampden as Scotland continue to top their Nations League group.
The Newcastle United winger finished smartly in the opening stages of the match and what followed was a frantic 84 minutes at the national stadium.
Czech Republic spurned three golden opportunities and at the other end Ryan Fraser was unfortunate not to bag a hat-trick with Oli McBurnie also hitting the crossbar.
Scotland now sit pretty in Group 2 of the Nations League, four points clear, with the EURO 2020 Play-Off Final beckoning next month.
As it happened
Czech Republic named a full strength side for the game with no changes from their 2-1 win over Israel.
Riding on a high from the last two victories, Scotland began the game in earnest with Ryan Fraser continuing on from his man of the match performance against Slovakia.
On the right flank, a slick interchange between Ryan Jack and Lyndon Dykes allowed the Queens Park Rangers striker to slip in his striking partner, Fraser, who found himself clean through on goal. The Newcastle United winger then showed composure to slip the ball beyond Vaclik.
Czech Republic retaliated and had a lot of possession in Scotland’s half, creating a golden opportunity with 23 minutes on the clock. A cross ball into the box found Matej Vydra who, with the goal at his mercy, contrived to slam the ball well wide of the target.
The game was the most open of the three matches played at Hampden in the last week with Scotland playing fast flowing football going forward and Ryan Fraser close to bagging a first half hat trick.
After 26 minutes, Scotland found themselves three on two and the ball was worked out to Ryan Fraser. From outside the box he curled the ball agonisingly wide of the target.
Less than 10 minutes later he had another opportunity, and with just the goalkeeper to beat he smacked the ball over the bar.
At the break, Scotland were deservedly 1-0 ahead.
At the start of the second half Burnley’s Vydra had another golden opportunity and once again he sliced the ball wide of the target. Moments later the Czech’s swung in a cross to the back post and Masopust was inches away from tucking the ball into the net.
Czech Republic failed to relent and Scotland remained resilient, captained by John McGinn for the first time. Throughout the match, Scotland’s defence was impressive with Considine and Gallagher proving to be formidable. As the game neared an end, Paul Hanlon made his debut replacing Greg Taylor who had deputised for the suspended Andy Robertson.
After 82 minutes, Czech Republic were presented with a golden opportunity. With the goal at his mercy, Soucek chipped the ball over the bar and sank to his knees in despair.
Substitute Oli McBurnie was close to putting the result beyond doubt with seven minutes to go when he unleashed a curling drive and saw it crash off the bar.
Scotland had to remain alert right until the final whistle and with one of the last kicks of the ball David Marshall was forced into a smart save to secure the win.
Scotland’s next challenge is quite simply their biggest match in two decades. On Thursday, 12 November, Scotland have the chance to return to a major tournament as they take on Serbia away from home.
They will then remain on foreign shores for matches against Slovakia and Israel as they aim to top their Nations League group which would aid qualification hopes for World Cup 2022 with the chance of a play-off up for grabs.
Scotland: Marshall, McTominay, Gallagher, Considine, O’Donnell, Jack, McGregor, Taylor (Hanlon, 79), John McGinn (Paterson, 79), Dykes (McBurnie 64), Fraser (McLean, 69)
Unused substitutes: McLaughlin, Robby McCrorie, Porteous, Ross McCrorie, Paul McGinn
Czech Republic: Vaclik, Boril, Celustka (Hovorka, 20), Kudel, Coufal, Kral (Kaderabek, 77), Soucek, Provod (Sevcik, 65), Darida, Masopust (Poznar, 65), Vydra (Rabusic, 77)
Used substitutes: Nguyen, Koubek, Petrasek, Sacek, Mateju, Malinsky, Novak