Tag: Shaun Maloney

Euro 2016 Qualifier: Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar

Steven Fletcher scored Scotland’s first hat-trick for 46 years as they recorded an emphatic victory over Gibraltar.

Shaun Maloney netted a penalty before Gibraltar stunned Hampden with their first competitive goal.

However, Fletcher restored the lead before Maloney tucked away another penalty and Steven Naismith got Scotland’s fourth.

The Scots laboured through the second half until Fletcher headed home and curled in for Scotland’s sixth.

That hat-trick – the first since Colin Stein netted four against Cyprus in 1969 – gave Scotland their biggest win since beating the Faroe Islands 6-0 in 2006.

The result means Gordon Strachan’s side keep pace with Germany, who beat Georgia 2-0 and, like Scotland, move on to 10 points, with Poland and the Republic of Ireland playing later in the evening.

Strachan had hinted beforehand at a change of system against a team who had conceded 21 and scored none in their four previous competitive fixtures.

And so it proved as he played just one central defender in Russell Martin, opting to load the attacking areas in the quest for goals.

But Scotland found Gibraltar awkward opponents, struggling to find a sufficiently high tempo or a crispness of passing to pick the lock of a well-drilled and stuffy side.

As they began to exert their authority, Fletcher might have had a penalty and moments later Maloney did, using his experience to dangle a trailing leg into the Gibraltar keeper Jamie Robba.

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Euro 2016 Qualifying: Scotland 1-0 Republic of Ireland

A superb Shaun Maloney goal earned Scotland a precious and hard-fought victory over the Republic of Ireland in their Euro 2016 Group D qualifier.

From a short corner, Maloney squeezed the ball into the feet of Scott Brown, whose back-heel allowed the winger to curl an exquisite shot home.

There was a late scare for the Scots as Grant Hanley’s header hit his own bar.

They now draw level with the Irish and Germany on seven points after four games, with Poland three points clear.

Former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill had spoken of his belief that his Irish side could win on his return to Celtic Park. Instead, it was his successor at the club, Gordon Strachan, who enjoyed the happier homecoming.

Another of the pre-match talking points was the expected booing of the Scots-born Ireland winger Aiden McGeady and his reception was suitably hostile – he was treated by the home fans as the pantomime villain.

From the outset, the pace of the game was frenetic. The tackling was tenacious and, at times, downright careless, leading to early bookings for Hanley, McGeady and his Ireland team-mate, Jeff Hendrick.

The passion on show almost made up for the dearth of football, with precious few chances created in the opening half-hour.

Jon Walters and Darron Gibson did force David Marshall into saves, but there was little to worry either goalkeeper.

Scotland’s play under Strachan has come to be typified by slick attacking play and it was one such passage that almost brought about the opening goal.

Steven Naismith foraged away before picking out Maloney on the right. The winger’s cross was whipped in for the charging Charlie Mulgrew, but his header flew wide.

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Euro 2016 Qualifying: Poland 2-2 Scotland

A ferociously-struck Arkadiusz Milik equaliser denied Scotland a famous win in Warsaw, but a hard-fought point was an impressive result for the visitors.

Poland threw everything at the Scots in the second half after going 2-1 behind to a clever Steven Naismith finish.

Earlier, Krzysztof Maczynski’s cooly-converted opener was cancelled out by Shaun Maloney’s equally calm strike.

But Milik earned the Poles a deserved point and Kamil Grosicki almost struck a winner when his effort struck a post.

The result ensured Poland kept pace with the Republic of Ireland at the summit of a delicately-poised Group D after Martin O’Neill’s side drew 1-1 with Germany.

The world champions – who were beaten in Warsaw on Saturday – are level with Scotland three points back, with the Irish travelling to Celtic Park in November.

Another surprise appeared to be on the cards when Gordon Strachan’s side took the lead early in the second half on Tuesday, but there was to be no repeat of the friendly win in March.

There was, however, plenty of poise about Scotland’s performance, a trait that is becoming more and more evident under Strachan.

And though they were put under significant pressure as the game wore on, a combination of stout defending and poor finishing meant that they left with a point.

It will be a cherished point, too, given that Milik had already passed up three chances before he scored and Robert Lewandowski had a shot saved superbly by Marshall.

The Poles came into the match in buoyant mood and their confidence was enhanced after a rare Scottish defensive lapse allowed them to take the lead.

Alan Hutton the guilty party, his heavy touch on the edge of his own box presenting Maczynski with the chance and the midfielder took it in clinical fashion, side-footing off the inside of Marshall’s left-hand post and over the line.

But the home fans had scarcely stopped celebrating when the Scots drew level with a wonderfully crafted goal.

Steven Fletcher switched play to Ikechi Anya on the left and the winger’s cutback was slotted expertly past Wojciech Szczesny by Maloney from 10 yards.

Steven Whittaker was a surprise inclusion ahead of Andrew Robertson at left-back but the defender prevented a seemingly certain second Polish goal, nipping in ahead of Lewandowski to clear with the goal gaping.

That seemed to have paved the way for Naismith to give the Scots victory when he guided a James Morrison free-kick past Szczesny, but Milik had other ideas, ripping a strike past Marshall after Artur Jedrzejczyk’s reverse pass.

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