Scotland v Macedonia Sportscene

Scotland v Macedonia

Rob Maclean, Pat Nevin and Craig Gordon present highlights of tonight's match as Scotland take on Macedonia in their quest to qualify for the World Cup.

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A goal for Scotland. Hampden goes wild!


Andy Murray has won the title, oh my goodness, he's done it the hard


way! Scotland against Serbia gave us the


win we wanted but only at the second attempt. It was Andy Murray


in New York last night rather than the national football team at


Hampden on Saturday. That goalless draw at the weekend meant that


tonight's home game against Macedonia, 50 places below Scotland


in the world rankings, carried even greater significance for our


qualification chances. We have highlights from Hampden now.


Tonight Hampden Park is a pressure cooker. Scotland can ill afford to


put a foot wrong against Macedonia after Saturday's draw with their


Balkan neighbours. Craig Levein is an unflappable sort but he will be


feeling hot under the clol ar tonight.


Twice they have faced Macedonia, one defeat. A win here a win later,


a result that kept hopes of qualifying alive in South Africa.


Another huge night at Scotland's National Stadium.


Craig Levein makes three alterations to his team from the


one that drew with Serbia. Adams, Snodgrass and Naismith


Adams Snodgrass and Naismith are benched. That is where Jordan


Rhodes starts as well. The referee Scotland have to be aware of that


attempts. Consequence of more dropped points is unthinkable for


reckon 32,000 will be inside the stadium tonight.


Puts the Scottish defence under in that kind of area. It slipped


there. MacGregor delight today see that


shot go past, it is a corner though though.


opening minutes of the game. Pandev has something to say to the


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again, Mackie gets a good pick out. Good precision passes.


Scotland. I don't Mackie or Dixon do


themselves any favour. Mackie turns his back there, that allows


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A dagger into Scottish hearts and been slack from the start.


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Scotland attack to penetrate a Ibraimi just gets a touch. You can


see the strike not far away at all. I am not sure if James Forrest has


fans booing at this display. I am scared, and fearful of what is


happening, because Caldwell is to reach him.


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A great pass from Mackie and Forest the Scotland goalkeeper who is


having to be the hero just now. It is all happening in and around the


Scottish box. Another huge let-off.


Not good defending. MacGregor to the rescue.


The corner kicks weren't of the highest standard here on Saturday


from Scotland. Maloney takes and it is headed wide by Andy Webster.


Pace is on the ball but he's on his good area.


As good as you are going to get. Maloney does really well. Gets here


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this task. But I just think it's on a left-


footed side. He's got good reverse on it, goalkeeper punch it had away


Brilliant from Forest, being positive, committing players, hangs


up a lovely cross. Didn't see Kenny Miller. It is Maloney getting in


there, Mackie getting in there. We need more players, strikers hitting


1-1. He had been much maligned in the


build up to this one. Kenny miller steps up to the plate to rescue his


manager and Scotland are back in Good play, nice quick passing,


Morrison, great run, never offside. A huge shot in the arm for us.


say the least! Kenny Miller, 17th international goal. People had


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He hasn't had the best first half half-time and it has been nervy,


it's been tense and the boos still ring out from the Tartan Army. They


saw their side go one down, cancelled out by Kenny Miller. The


qualifiers don't end for 13 months but Scotland, were teetering on the


brink. Macedonia, ranked 97 in the in the world.


Macedonia were one up in the game and threatening to win their third


away World Cup qualifier. They may still do that tonight. Craig Levein


and Scotland hope it goes the other of the first half.


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They need to be out of the traps their most dangerous when the ball


was on the ground. They were fighting it through the Serbian


defence. Tonight the goal came from It was a good strike, but look at


the area. High up the pitch, inside their half. Reading the play,


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Just look how slickly they do it. Pandev instrumental. MacGregor


comes out. He's had two excellent Hasani.


Scotland under the cosh again. A Here comes the change for the Scots.


Kenny Miller has lasted less than an hour, but he has had the big


impact for Scotland in the match so far. Rescuing Craig Levein's side,


with his goal just before half-time, 17th for his country. He will be


replaced by Charlie Adam and Jamie Mackie will go up-front.


Adam into midfield. He's done his at last. That change will be made


and it will be James Morrison who is sacrificed. Hasn't been at his


best. Much better than he's shown and there will be a roar for onDan


Rhodes. -- Jordan Rhodes. What pressure on the 22-year-old. Just


his fourth cap. He's only started once. He scored when he started.


Much is expected of Jordan Rhodes. And he will know that.


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He's come on with 25 minutes to go. through. I am not sure a team-mate


There is a 4-4-2 now. They have to be careful. They are


dangerous on the counter. But more options upfront for us now.


No, it's the side net. He almost inches, that is all it is. A


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tries to get through Alan MacGregor but a vital stop again. He's been


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Pandev, intelligent once again. for Scotland to be replaced by


Naismith. He's done a power of work, Jamie Mackie. Teed up the Kenny


Miller equaliser. Scotland need fresh legs for the last throw of


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the of the dies. free-kick to Macedonia and everyone


can calm down again. It's getting to that stage, ten


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minutes to go, that is a decent another chance for Scotland, but it


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the big screens here and it was met by a resounding boo from the


Scotland supporters. Craig Levein will be a man under severe pressure


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A minute-and-a-half to go. easiest game of the group. It's 1-1.


A draw with Serbia here at the weekend, immediately meant Scotland


had to somewhere retrieve the points. They are going to have to


retrieve points from two games at home, because time is up.


Alan MacGregor will release this and it will be full-time. That is


the final whistle. Just how damaging is this going to be for


not just Scotland but for Craig Levein.


Can he survive this one? Macedonia ranked 97th in the world,


the bottom creedss in this group have come to Hampden and taken a


point, that off the back with a draw with Serbia at the weekend.


Scotland have two points in their opening two games and that is two


home games gone now. Just how much pressure will Craig


Levein be under. Frustration for Shaun Maloney and the rest of the


players. You can't fault them for effort. But mass donia, like Serbia,


well worth their point and it could have been worse. The qualification


campaign doesn't end for another 13 months. At least the fixtures run


out then. Is it over already for Scotland. We will find that out in


the course of the coming months. They go to Wales and Belgium next


month. It looks like they will have month. It looks like they will have


to win at least one of those. 32,000 watch thaing tonight and


after Chris McLaughlin to spoke to the manager Craig Levein. How


disappointed are you after that? course I am disappointed. It is a


game we had hoped to win. What tonight's game showed certainly


there's no teams in this group can be underestimated. I think


Macedonia played well. Disappointed, we are angry about the way we have


performed tonight. No other words to say. It is a poor start, no


doubt about it. Saturday, after the game Saturday, I felt we did play


well enough, but we have watched the game back and we had more


chances, more ball in dangerous areas, but tonight we were off the


pace. It's taken us to go a goal down, we never started the game


well. It took that to give aus shake. I think we kicked on towards


the end of the first half but never really got going. We had a couple


of half chances in the second half but not enough to go and win a game.


We didn't start very well in the first 25 minutes. Going into the


lead, I have heard it is off side, but it's not great, but I thought


15 minutes before half-time we started coming into it, and


Do you think this leaves Scotland in trouble so early on in the


campaign? No, not at all. I look at the league, we are two points off


the top. I did say as soon as the draw was made, the teams will take


points off each other and I couldn't say where we are going to


get a point, hopefully we would get a point here at Hampden but that


didn't happen tonight. So the challenge is for us to go to the


next game and remain hugely positive and take three points


there. For some reason tonight there was a strange atmosphere at


the stadium. It wasn't the usual upbeat Hampden tonight. Whether


that is off the back of a poor result on Saturday, I don't think


it was a poor result, but it was disappointing, but tonight was just


more off the pace and we found it hard to get up to our usual tempo


after a poor start. I am not giving up. Only two games gone, I know for


a fact the boys won't be giving up. It's up to everybody to get behind


us again and push on for the next couple of gainls. The fans


frustrated at the end. How much personal pressure do you feel


under? The biggest pressure is on myself. I want to do well for the


country and the supporters more than anybody else. That is the


pressure I put on myself. I can handle that. I have been doing this


job for a long time. The important thing is to remain positive,


letting the players know there is no way we are anywhere near being


out of this competition. And the challenge now is to raise our


performance in the next match. Let's hear from Pat and Craig. Do


those vital stats there, the group placings, do they back up the


belief of Craig Levein that we are still in this? You could say that.


If Scotland get every back, everyone playing well, they can be


a decent team but as soon as you have one or two important players


hout you miss it. Craig mentioned there is a lack of balance in the


team. The balance comes down to two players for me. You are asking the


midfielders, Gary Caldwell and tonight it was Morrison to be the


centre midfield players. Fletcher and Brown are the centre in the


core of Scotland's team. If one of them is missing it is bad news and


if two are missing it is incredibly missing. Get them back and there is


a chance Scotland can go on a right good run. If there is a lack of


balance about the team there is not a lot of time to get it right, is


there? I think we are working on that over the next few weeks, we


will look back at the games and the preparation as a manager, he will


be looking at that in depth over the next few weeks and he will have


it right by the next game. The important thing is in this group


anybody can win any match. Home or away, against anybody else in the


group. The seedings and rankings, it doesn't matter, any game is


winnable. I think he said that before. With the two games coming


up, if we can pick up points in that it will push us up the table.


Yes, Scotland are two points off the top of the group after two


match days, but two really unconvincing performances against


Serbia and Macedonia which hardly inspire confidence confidence about


the way ahead. They don't. The Tartan Army, the fans, they are not


easily conned, they know it's not going to be good enough. What we


have seen tonight is not good enough to get through to the World


Cup Finals. It is not convincing at all. Craig is right to say we are


not out of it yet. It would be ridiculous to say that. Just as


Craig says, as Craig Levein says, teams are going to take points off


everybody. Macedonia were better than I thought they would be. Moved


the ball neatly. They may not win the group themselves, but they will


take some surprising points off the home team. Teams will take points


off everyone else, but it would have been nice if we had got four


points. No surprise they went ahead in the game, because there were


warning signs ahead of the goal. They started very brightly,


creating a few chances down the left-hand side. It was a very


difficult opening for us again, down the left back area.


Alan Hutton manages to clear the danger. George he is key was doing


really well. We are outclassed in the first half hour.


You could say players weren't following. Yes, he is off side, but


boy, is it close. Now and again you miss them. If you are going to give


the advantage to the attacker now and again, you can't complain about


it too much. They have the goal there. They probably deserved it,


they were that far ahead. We couldn't get a kick of the ball and


we were talking about in the highlights there, 97 in the FIFA


rankings, which is a nonsense figure, but it is a bit scary to be


so out classed by a team that low down the rankings. But for a


terrific save by Alan MacGregor it could have been 2-0 in the first


half. He's reacted very quickly to come out and makes a really good


block. Pandev here, looking at his twisting and turning, he was


fantastic, perfect ball through, great vision. We don't have anyone


to do that, and not for the first time and certainly not for the last


time, MacGregor is Scotland's save your. - saviour. It's very


difficult to knock off the ball there, great strength and awareness


to play in a team-mate. He was at it all night long creating most of


This is early on in the game, every time the ball was played to Pandev,


he's been told you have to stop them. You understand what the game


plan was. If you give him a yard, whack, brilliant ball, always gets


it through. As the game developed after that, he looked like pure


This was a master class performance from Pandev. It would have been


great to watch, had it not been against Scotland! We see it time


and time again, the best passes in the game, it was Pandev making them


off and making their team tick, every time they got a chance to get


the ball into him. A great awareness of sways and where he is


and how to get on the park, even when he has somebody marking him.


It is the easy things, just a simple ball, but completely opened


up all the space. He is a top, top international footballer. Whatever


you do, you want to get players marking him, but that is easier


said than done. He's got great vision and skill. He was fantastic


tonight, the best player in the pack by a country mile. Do we have


an overinflated opinion of our own players based on what we have seen


against Serbia and Macedonia? Possibly. I think we are a hard-


working team and when we do have a few people injured, it does lack a


little bit of strength. But the quality of players we have brought


in, we would have expected to have taken more points but we haven't


done that. There will be chance toss pick up the points in the


remaining games. We do have to have a realistic opinion of where we are.


We are a strong hard-working team, but we are not -- we do have decent


players who are capable of playing at international level. Just as


there were signs of Macedonia taking the lead, they were


indications Scotland were beginning ago pass to the ball but when he


did get the ball at the end of the first half, he looked lively and


sharp. I don't think there's much of a ball here, he's tried his best


to find somebody, but it was down that right-hand side he began to


look sharper. This is a really neat bit of playing that leads up to the


goal. Mackie takes the chance and good vision that he makes sure he


does the right thing. Nobody dislikes Kenny Miller, everyone


wants him to do well. Delighted for Kenny there. He would have been


looking to score tonight. He got criticism from a few people and I


know Kenny very well, he always takes the responsibility of playing


up there by himself and delighted to see him getting a goal. That is


the signs of experience, not getting too excited about the goal-


scoring chance, holding off the half yard and making sure he was


on-side. Maybe there was an argument does he hold the ball up


enough. It's not right for Kenny. He's not six foot three. I wouldn't


blame Kenny Miller, the fact we didn't have good enough position.


But good strikers, what they keep on doing is keep on getting their


head down and getting into the right places. He scored a very


important goal for us. Scotland were better in the second half. But


Macedonia could still have got themselves in front again. This is


an amazing passage of play from one end of the pitch to the other.


Probably the best move in the match. goalkeeper was getting near that. I


think that is where Scotland got lucky. That was a period of the


game where we are starting to come into it a little bit, growing in


confidence a little bit. You see a little bit of tiredness creeping


into their game. I think in the end we z but thank goodness that ball


hit the post. You mentioned Berra. The defence have done a reasonable


job. Alan having to make a couple of saves that we have seen in the


game, he has done well for us and was probably the most important


player back there tonight. Rhodes was given 25 minutes to shine this


time. Suddenly Scotland had a double threat in the penalty box of


Rhodes and Mackie. Yes, it is not just Rhodes, it is the fact we


changed the system a bit and the game opened out. Just like the


weekend, the game opens out and we gain chances and lose chances. He


gets in front of defenders. He is desperate to get into the areas.


You know if he is on the pitch and you get the ball in there, him and


Mackie are going to try and get there. Once again, they are front


post defenders hate that, because you are getting across them. That


is desire, that is what the Scotland fans want to see. This is


the one that is painful to watch because he is so unlucky there. The


ball just goes slightly too low for him. That could have bounced off


any part of his body and gone into the goal. Once again, he's come on,


and very, very unlucky that he doesn't win the game for us.


says much about the game that Alan MacGregor comes out of it as our


outstanding performer. Yes, as he did at the weekend. He's produced


important saves for us. In we lose a second goal, it was important to


keep the back door shut. Craig Levein is hugely positive in his


own words about Scotland's chances still after the first two results.


Do you share his optimism? I am not going to share the optimism is


getting through because there are very good teams in the group. But


we are not out of TI looked at the team tonight and didn't know if


there was enough belief and that is my worry, there wasn't enough


belief in the team. We need more strength of character in that


central area. We need Brown and Fletcher. If we get them back there


is a good chance we could go in a run, but we need them back.


manager had as his biggest complaint over the two games the


fact that Scotland didn't move the ball quickly enough, which was


something you scroled down in her extensive notes during the game.


That is something he always wants his team to do, to get switches of


play quickly from one side to the other, to move their defence. They


managed to get set in their shape very early and didn't move them


from side to side to open up the gaps. In the last 20 minutes the


quality of ball coming in was better. We have spoken about the


likes of Brown and Darren flacher in terms of adding to what there is.


It is interesting to hear that Levein is hopeful he will appear in


the next qualifier. Let's hope we we get him back. A lot of people


will be negative about Craig Levein tomorrow. We have asked him to be


more positive. A lot of people have asked him to be positive. With 25


minutes to go we change it had, we gave Jordan Jordan Rhodes 25


minutes and that is what you wanted. Soes positive is there. If we keep


that going we have half a chance but we need to get the ball in the


goal more often. Let's give you some results you might want to know


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It is a trip to Wales next for Scotland, you will hear it live on


FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Scotland v Macedonia

Highlights of this evening's match from Hampden as Scotland continue their quest to qualify for the finals in Brazil in 2014. Craig Levein will be hoping to secure all three points before the away matches against Wales and Belgium next month.

The Macedonia national football team only became a member of FIFA in 1994 and have yet to make it to a World Cup Finals. They played in the same qualifying group as Scotland for the 2010 tournament, winning 1-0 in Skopje before losing 2-0 in Glasgow in the return match. Their star player is Goran Pandev of Napoli, who is also the country's leading goalscorer with 24 goals.

Tonight's opponents recently parted company with former Wales boss John Toshack after only a year in charge - he was replaced by as national team manager by Cedomir Janevski.

Commentary by Liam McLeod and Billy Dodds.

Presented by Rob Maclean with Pat Nevin and Craig Gordon.

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