UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifier
Scotland 0-1 FYR Macedonia
Friday, 2nd September 2016, kick-off 7.30pm
In a frustrating night at Tynecastle Stadium, Scotland Under-21s went down 1-0 following a controversial end to a match which the hosts dominated.
FYR Macedonia scored with their only shot on goal in the 97 minutes played in Edinburgh. After going close on a number of occasions and had the ball in the back of the net as well as a penalty awarded in injury time but the referee disallowed both, subjecting the dark blues to an agonising defeat.
Scotland were led by Hearts defender Jordan McGhee, currently on loan at Middlesbrough.
The home side began the match with a formidable attack including Ryan Gauld, Jason Cummings along with Celtic duo Ryan Christie and Liam Henderson.
Ryan Fraser was also involved and fired an early shot moments after kick-off but dragged it wide of the posts.
Scotland’s pressure continued to intensify in the opening stages with Stephen Kingsley testing out Igor Aleksovski with a rasping drive.
Those missed opportunities were to haunt Scotland when Kire Markoski took Macedonia’s only chance of the game after 17 minutes, gathering the ball in the box and turning quickly to slam home beyond Liam Kelly.
With 10 minutes before the break Hibee Jason Cummings was presented with a good opportunity but saw his header saved by the keeper after a pinpoint cross from Christie.
Moments later Cummings again went close but saw his deft flick well saved by the goalkeeper.
After setting up that chance for Cummings, Ryan Gauld also went close firing a drive from outside the box inches by the post.
Igor Aleksovski was in inspired form and after the half-time interval he pulled off another impressive stop, diving low to his left to prevent a certain John Souttar goal.
After that, Scotland fell out of the game for a period and were close to going two down when captain David Babunski saw his shot flash narrowly wide.
With 69 minutes on the clock Egzon Bejtulai was sent-off for a second yellow after picking up his first just a minute beforehand.
Scotland looked to take advantage and a swinging cross from McGhee caused the Macedonian goalkeeper all sorts of problems and although the ball was cleared off the post, he was left struggling drowsy after colliding with the upright.
The Macedonian goalkeeper got back to his feet though and pulled off another impressive stop when a misjudged header from his defender left him clambering to clear the ball.
As the game drew to a close Scotland tried to claim a deserved equaliser bringing on attacking trio, Nicholson, King and McBurnie.
The hosts pressure eventually paid off when Liam Henderson tucked the ball into the back of the net and as he wheeled away in celebration, the referee halted proceedings to give a foul against Scotland, much to the aggravation of the supporters.
The fans were then left frustrated two minutes later when a penalty was awarded by the referee but the decision was overturned by the assistant.
It was a valiant effort from the Scots who deserved more on a night where fans left Gorgie in disappointment.
SCOTLAND | Kelly, Smith (Nicholson 75), Kingsley, Souttar, McGhee (Cpt.), Slater (McBurnie 58) , R. Fraser (B King 87), Gauld, Cummings, Christie, Henderson.
Subs not used | Hurst (GK) Hyam, Cadden, O'Hara.