European Qualification Game
Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar
Sunday, 29th March 2015, 5pm kick-off
Hampden Park, Glasgow

Maloney 18’ (pen) 34 (pen), Fletcher 29’ 77’ 90’, Naismith 39’; Cascario 19’

Steven Fletcher netted a hat-trick as Scotland overpowered Group D opponents Gibraltar to win 6-1 at Hampden Park.

Shaun Maloney also scored two penalties and Steven Naismith got his fifth Scotland goal in a game that was out of sight for the visitors by half-time.

The result puts Scotland on 10 points after five Group D games, their best start to a qualification campaign since 2007.

Gordon Strachan spoke about showing our visitors maximum respect during the week and this was reflected with an experienced starting line-up and six changes to the team that beat Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

Scott Brown returned to take the captain’s armband with David Marshall in goals and the familiar sight of Alan Hutton and Andrew Robertson patrolling the flanks. Recent call-up Matt Ritchie kept his place after an encouraging debut performance in midweek.

A lively Scotland support - boosted by the Scottish FA’s 10,000 ticket giveaway to youth clubs - were treated to a thrilling start when the game burst into life on 15 minutes with opposing fortunes for the home team.

Scotland were first to light up the scoreboard. Ritchie wrong footed the Gibraltar defence with a neat outside of the foot pass up to Shaun Maloney who was brought down by goalkeeper Jamie Robba in the box. The Chicago Fire forward made no mistake with the penalty, scoring his 3rd goal of the qualification campaign.

Moments later, Gibraltar’s noisy away support were sent crazy when Lee Cascario – one of three brothers in the team – tucked away his team’s first ever competitive goal, slotting the ball under Marshall after a quick break away to the shock of the hosts.

Much to our visitor’s dismay however, the historic goal only acted as a catalyst for a Scotland team that has rarely disappointed in this current campaign.

Steven Fletcher was able to give the home support their breath back on 29 minutes when he scored his second international goal, rising above the Gibraltar defence to loop in a header over Robba and restore Scotland’s lead.

Five minutes later the home team added a third and there was a sense of Déjà vu about this one. Referee Mattias Gestranius pointed to the spot after Naismith was apprehended in the box and again it fell to Maloney to step up and blast in a penalty to the keeper’s right hand side.

If Gibraltar had hoped for some rest bite - it wasn’t to come. Moments after Steven Fletcher had rattled the post Scotland had their fourth of the night. The unmarked Naismith calmly slotting home a pass from Ikechi Anya, who had made a trademark run into the box from the left.

A relatively undramatic second half followed until Steven Fletcher became the first Scotland player to net a hat-trick since Colin Stein fired in a treble against Cyprus in 1969.

His second goal came on 76 minutes, when substitute Jordan Rhodes played in a great cross from the right wing. Fletcher was again able to out-muscle his markers to rise highest and head into the net.

Minutes later the former Hibernian-man confirmed he'd be taking the match-ball home. A neat pass from Barry Bannan was quickly controlled by Fletcher in the box who spun and side-footed past Robba in the Gibraltar goal.

SCOTLAND I Marshall (GK), Hutton, Robertson, Ritchie (Greer 45) Martin, Maloney, Morrison, Brown (c), S. Fletcher, Naismith (Rhodes 66), Anya (Bannan 74) Subs: Gordon (GK), McGregor (GK), Russell, Bannan, McArthur, May, D. Fletcher, Forsyth, Berra, Forrest.