Scotland prepared for Euro 2020 with an easy 1-0 win over 10-man Luxembourg, although it came at a cost as Chelsea star Billy Gilmour was injured.
Vahid Selimovic’s red card in the first half killed the game as a contest as Che Adams’ goal before the interval proved decisive. There was concern for Chelsea star Gilmour as he was substituted with a head injury after coming on at half-time, following a terrible challenge from Luxembourg’s Sebastien Thill.
The win in Scotland’s final Euro 2020 warm-up match means the nation heads into its tournament opener with Czech Republic on June 14th with two defeats in 15 matches as the nation now full focuses on its return to a major finals for the first time since 1998.
Adams opened the scoring to send Scotland on their way to victory. Some great link-up play with strike partner Lyndon Dykes allowed the Southampton forward to slot the ball under Luxembourg goalkeeper Anthony Moris.
It had been a tight affair prior to that, despite the difference of 52 places in the FIFA rankings between the sides, Luxembourg ranked 96th and Scotland 44th. Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall did excellently to deny a goal-bound home header hitting the net but Scotland also posed a threat, Dykes cracking the post with a header.
Selimovic’s red card prior to Adams’ goal was not what Scotland manager Steve Clarke wanted to see as he aimed to get a competitive 90 minutes into the legs of his team. Dykes was bursting through on goal and the Luxembourg defender carelessly brought him down.
A 2-2 draw with Netherlands midweek provided Scotland with encouragement ahead of a huge month and this was now a different challenge entirely. Nottingham, Forest defender Scott McKenna and Chelsea midfielder Gilmour were brought on at half-time and the latter showed why he’s in the squad, beating three players before his shot was tipped round the post.
Dykes was doing everything but score as he then had a goal ruled out before the hour-mark. Gilmour was looking right at home in midfield too as he came close again with another solo effort, Nathan Patterson soon joining him on the park for his Scotland debut. Adams had it in the net shortly after but again it was chopped off.
Chelsea starlet Gilmour’s night was ended early as Thill showed no intention of getting the ball, battering into the midfielder and forcing him off with a head knock as Scott McTominay missed a late chance, as did Adams. Here are three things we learned.
While in any other game a team’s main centre-back being sent off would be seen as a big plus, it wasn’t in this match. Scotland were searching for a good workout before their first Euro 2020 match but after that red card before half-time, the game’s already low intensity dropped further.
The most talked about Scottish player heading into the Euros is one with two caps, Gilmour. But it’s easy to see why. The Chelsea kid immediately stood out in his cameo display with great footwork, dropping deep and mazy runs. The tackle to force him off was shocking and Clarke will hope it’s nothing serious.
Destiny upon us
The nation has waited since 1998 for a major tournament, 23 long years, a generation of people in Scotland never seeing such a thing. Now the next game will be that moment, a huge national occasion against Czech Republic. A week of build-up will be like nothing we have seen before.
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