European Qualifiers
Georgia 1-0 Scotland
Friday 4 September, 5pm kick-off
Boris Palchadze Stadium, Tbilisi

Kazaishvili 38’

Scotland suffered defeat in the heat of Tbilisi as Georgia celebrated their second victory of the Group D campaign.

In a scrappy game that offered little in the way of chances for either side, it was Georgia who made them count. Valeri Kazaishvili’s first-half strike proving the difference at the Boris Palchadze Stadium.

Scotland must now focus on Monday’s game with Germany and hope for a positive result that can help to reignite our EURO qualifying hopes.

Gordon went for tried and trusted with just two changes from the side that drew with the Republic of Ireland back in June. Andrew Robertson and Ikechi Anya both restored to the starting line-up.

Steven Naismith was first to threaten for Scotland. The striker shimmying his way past two defenders in the box before letting the ball slip just too far in front of himself for the keeper to collect.

Then followed an entertaining first quarter with both teams showing an urgency to push forward. Naismith’s neat cutback to Fletcher on 21 minutes was just snuffed out while Georgia were proving dangerous on the counter.

Robertson’s trademark run down the left on 28 minutes allowed the full-back to whip a low cross onto the advancing Fletcher. The big Number 9 flung everything he had at the ball but couldn’t quite prod it home for the opener.

With 8 minutes remaining of the first-half Scotland fell behind. Valeri Kazaishvili pouncing on a headed cut-back before switching the ball onto his left and firing a powerful drive past David Marshall. Scotland would go into the first-half 1-0 down with plenty to ponder.

There was a brighter start to the second-half though as Scotland pushed to find an early equaliser. Maloney’s 50th minute corner found Naismith on the line but the Everton striker was deemed to have committed a foul on the Georgian keeper.

Maloney was soon proving to be Scotland’s main creative outlay and his dinked free-kick up to Naismith on 55 minutes was clever but ran just too far for the striker.

The Hull City man had the Georgian defence scrambling again moments later when he slid a great ball through to Fletcher. The striker’s shot hit the post but he was in an offside position in any case.

The introduction of Grant Hanley and James Forrest just before the hour mark seemed to signal a change in system from Gordon but Georgia were still threatening.

Levan Mchedlidze famously scored against Scotland as a 17-year old in 2007 and almost had history repeating itself when he struck from 25-yards out. Fortunately Marshall was quick on his toes to palm the ball away to safety.

A foul on James Morrison just outside the box offered Scotland a final chance to draw level. Maloney lined up the ball but couldn’t produce the magic that has saved us on so many occasions, clipping his free-kick off the wall and over.

A flurry of corner kicks in the final moments gave the travelling fans a glimmer of hope but Scotland remained unable to truly test the Georgian keeper.

Scotland: Marshall (GK) Hutton, Robertson (Hanley 59), R.Martin, Mulgrew, Maloney, Morrison, Brown (C), S.Fletcher, Naismith (Forrest 59), Anya (Griffiths 75). Subs not used: Gordon (GK) Ritchie, McArthur, Whittaker, Forrest, Russell, D.Fletcher, Greer, McGregor (GK), C.Martin,