Scotland are still a chance of qualifying for the 2012 European Championships following tonight’s 1-0 victory over Lithuania in Glasgow.
A rain-sodden Hampden Park was the venue as Craig Levein’s men put aside Saturday’s gut-wrenching 2-2 draw with Czech Republic to move within two points of Group I’s second-placed side.
The only goal of the match came in the 50th minute when Steven Naismith struck sweetly into the corner from about 12 yards with his left foot after receiving a neat pass from Barry Bannan which came after captain Darren Fletcher had his 44th minute penalty saved by Lithuania keeper Zydrunas Karcemarskas.
The Scots started brightly with Christophe Berra missing unmarked from the back post before Don Cowie was the recipient of David Goodwillie’s perfect touch but volleyed over from inside the area when perhaps he should have done better.
Naismith had two headers in quick succession late in the first half but his diving attempt from the edge of the area was well-held by Karcemarskas before his effort from a corner was inches over the crossbar.
Lithuania improved markedly in the second half and had some clearcut chances of their own but the home side managed to hold on for a crucial three points which puts them in with a chance of edging past the Czechs who meet group leaders Spain in Prague on October 7 and Lithuania away four days later.
Scotland’s remaining two matches are against bottom-of-the-table Liechtenstein on October 8 before a vital clash with Spain on the 11th.
Scotland: 1 (Steven Naismith 50’)
Hampden Park, Glasgow
Yellow cards: SCO - Graham Dorrans 82’
LTU - Tadas Labukas 44’, Deividas Semberas 65’