McTominay double stuns Spain in Euro 2024 qualifier

AFP , Wednesday 29 Mar 2023

Scott McTominay scored twice as Scotland stunned Spain 2-0 at Hampden Park on Tuesday to continue a perfect start to Euro 2024 qualifying.

Scotland s midfielder Scott McTominay (L) celebrates scoring the team s second goal with Scotland s
Scotland s midfielder Scott McTominay (L) celebrates scoring the team s second goal with Scotland s defender Kieran Tierney during the UEFA Euro 2024 group A qualification football match between Scotland and Spain at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow, on March 28, 2023. AFP

McTominay came off the bench to score twice against Cyprus at the weekend and the Manchester United midfielder struck early in both halves to secure Scotland's most famous win since beating France in 2007.

"The manager said this is our chance to create legacies as Scotland players and these are the nights in 20, 30 years that people remember," said McTominay.

Steve Clarke's men could not have asked for a better start in their aim to qualify for a second consecutive European Championship as they sit top of Group A with maximum points from their opening two games.

But questions will be asked for Spain boss Luis de la Fuente's decision to make eight changes from the side that beat Norway 3-0 in his first match in charge on Saturday.

That included an entirely new defence and the visitors were caught cold after just seven minutes.

McTominay had scored just one international goal in 37 caps before Saturday before hitting four in four days.

Scotland twice had fortune on their side as Pedro Porro's slip gifted Andy Robertson possession and when he picked out McTominay, his shot deflected off Inigo Martinez and past the helpless Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The home side were inches away from taking a 2-0 lead moments later when Ryan Christie tore through the Spanish midfield on the counter-attack and poked an effort just wide.

Spain took time to settle, but when they did begin to threaten it was through the physical presence of Joselu rather than the slick passing they are famed for.

The Espanyol striker earned his first international start by scoring twice against Norway on his debut cap and will feel he should have added to that tally.

Joselu headed his first big chance straight at Angus Gunn and then nodded powerfully against the bar from close range.

- Spain still toothless -

De la Fuente tried to inspire a response from the three-time European champions at half-time with the introductions of Dani Carvajal and Nico Williams.

But Real Madrid right-back Carvajal was at fault as Scotland struck again six minutes into the second half.

Kieran Tierney sped past Carvajal down the left and when his cross was only cleared to the edge of the box, McTominay swept home a fine finish on his weaker left foot.

Only the woodwork denied Scotland a third moments later when John McGinn's in-swinging free-kick came back off the crossbar.

Spain spent the final half hour camped in Scottish territory but it was a familiar tale of a lack of cutting edge from La Roja in the final third.

A World Cup last-16 exit on penalties to Morocco, despite enjoying 77 percent possession in a 0-0 draw, cost Luis Enrique his job and despite a huge overhaul in personnel from De la Fuente, there was still no killer instinct from Spain.

Not that Scotland cared as Hampden roared in celebration.

"We knew they'd have lots of the ball, and the manager said be clinical when we had the opportunities," added McTominay.

"Look at this place - I've never seen anything like it,"

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