Scotland have secured a Hampden playoff semi-final clash in March after ending Denmark’s 100% record in World Cup qualifying to secure a famous 2-0 win over the Danes at Hampden thanks to John Souttar’s first-half goal on his return to the national team and Ché Adams’ late strike.
Steve Clarke made three changes to the side which won in Moldova on Friday night – Jack Hendry, Stuart Armstrong and the suspended Nathan Patterson all missing out to be replaced by Stephen O’Donnell, Ryan Christie and Souttar.
The visitors made five changes from their last outing, Lindstrøm, Daramy, Nørgaard, Stryger and Poulsen all dropping out completely, with Vestergaard, Bruun Larsen, Jønsson, Christensen and Cornelius taking their place.
No fewer than five of the Scotland starting XI went into the game knowing a booking tonight would rule them out of the March playoff semi-final – Andy Robertson, John McGinn, Billy Gilmour, Che Adams and Stephen O’Donnell as well as substitute Kevin Nisbet all one yellow card away from a one-match ban.
After the sold-out Hampden crowd paid tribute to Walter Smith and Bertie Auld following their recent deaths, Scotland started the game on the front foot as they looked to break the deadlock early and get themselves in front.
The Danes saw little of the ball in the opening ten minutes and when they did, they seemed fairly content to move it around without trying to really threaten the Scotland defence and get in behind the central trio of Souttar, Cooper and Tierney.
That bode well for Scotland and Clarke’s side took control of the game, having a string of corners that continually troubled Kasper Schmeichel and it was inevitable that it would be a corner that would lead to the opener on 36 minutes.
Incredibly, it was the eighth corner Scotland had won and when John Souttar’s header hit the back of the net, there wasn’t anybody who could have argued they were good money for their lead.
McGinn’s corner was delivered deep with Liam Cooper knocking back across goal for Souttar to nod home and blow the roof off Hampden leaving the Danes looking rattled.
The goal sparked some life into the Danes, Wass going closest for the visitors when he timed his run perfectly to fire a low strike at goal which Gordon could only watch as it was deflected before going just wide of his far post.
Scotland were able to comfortably see out the threat until the break, heading in at half-time knowing they were 45 minutes minutes away from making sure of a Hampden date in March.
One of the biggest positives for Steve Clarke after the opening 45 will have been how well his side performed despite missing a number of regular starters such as Lyndon Dykes, Nathan Patterson and Scott McTominay.
After controlling much of the first half, Scotland found themselves on the back foot a bit after the break as Denmark looked much livelier in attack – although they never really threatened Gordon’s goal.
The hosts started to get to grips with things, winning yet more corners, and taking control of the tempo of the game; Denmark for their part looked pretty short on ideas beyond trying to fire balls into the box and hope to win a second ball.
As the minutes ticked away, there were some injury concerns for Scotland, Billy Gilmour and Andy Robertson going off hurt in the space of a few minutes as Kenny McLean and Scott McKenna came on to see things out.
Stuart Armstrong also came on for the final 12 minutes, Christie making way for the Southampton midfielder.
Craig Gordon had to be alert eight minutes from the end, making a smart save from Skov Olsen when he pushed the Dane’s effort behinf at the cost of a corner as it looked like sneaking in.
With the Danes stretched trying to find an equaliser, Scotland broke clinically to finish the game off with five minutes to go, Ché Adams getting his second goal in two games for his country as he showed fantastic composure to finish off a swift break and fire beyond Schmeichel.
The aftermath of the goal saw Anthony Ralston handed a Scotland debut, replacing Kieran Tierney for the last few minutes as the Tartan Army partied into the night.
Scotland: Gordon, Souttar, Cooper, Tierney, O’Donnell, Gilmour, McGregor, Robertson, McGinn, Christie, Adams.
Substitutes: Clark. McLaughlin, Ralston, Porteous, McKenna, Armstrong, Turnbull, Nisbet, Ferguson, Brown, McLean.
Denmark: Schmeichel, Maehle, Vestergaard, Kjaer, Kristensen, Jensson, Christensen, Waas, Brun Larsen, Cornelius, Skov Olsen.
Substitutes: Vindahl-Jensen, Ronnow, Maxso, Stahe Uhre, Dreyer, Bah, Riis, Sisto.
Referee: Alejandro Hernández (ESP)
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