Scotland were pushed to the limit against a second-string Czech Republic team but eventually scraped a 2-1 win.

Steve Clarke’s side were stunned 11 minutes in, Jakub Pesek getting in behind and placing a nice finish past David Marshall. QPR man Lyndon Dykes responded 17 minutes later to get Scotland level before Ryan Christie gave the away team victory from the spot six minutes into the second half. It allows Scotland to top their Nations League group.

Scotland v Israel - UEFA Nations League

Christie netted. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

On Friday morning, this was on paper Scotland’s hardest match of the new Nations League campaign. Come the end of the day though, it looked unlikely to go ahead, as the Czech FA announced the game was to be postponed due to COVID-19 fears.

This was a decision reversed by UEFA as the Czech’s drafted in a full new squad consisting of mostly players from their domestic league. It put Scotland in a very favorable position to win what looked like a very tough away game.

But after 11 minutes they were handed a massive reality check. Pesek snuck in behind Manchester United man Scott McTominay, losing the midfielder-turned defender and lifting a cool effort over Marshall. 11 minutes gone and Scotland had huge questions to answer.

Dykes provided them 28 minutes in, scoring his first Scots goal with a lovely run and finish at the front-post. A great moment for the former Livingston striker, Clarke needed it to be the catalyst to go on and control this match.

At half time though it was still 1-1 but six minutes into the second half Scotland had the lead. Andy Robertson was deemed to have been brought down in the box, Christie stepping up to net from the spot for the second time over these internationals.

 

The Czechs were far from out this, a free kick from Marek Havlik shaving the outside of the post as the hosts almost levelled. Then Stanislav Teci missed an open goal, having the net at his mercy after an unbelievable Marshall stop.

Scotland v Israel - UEFA Nations League

Some stop. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It was the home team in the ascendency during the last 15 minutes but Scotland rode their luck to get that win they were expected to get. It’s unbeaten in five now for Clarke’s men… here are three things we learned.

A bumpy ride

Despite the Czech Republic team being put together at the very last moment, Scotland still made hard work of this one. Czech Republic were well worth their 1-1 scoreline at half time and only found themselves behind through a debatable penalty.

Scotland v Israel - UEFA Nations League

Clarke’s men got away with it. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

They really tested Scotland as Clarke’s men looked to hang onto a 2-1 win, eventually the away team doing so. Nothing seems to come easy for Scotland on the international scene.

You’ve got a nine in Dykes

The overwhelming positive from these international matches is that Scotland appear to have a very capable forward in Dykes.

The QPR man has shone over these two games and scored his first in navy blue against the Czechs.

Scotland v Israel - UEFA Nations League

Delightful Dykes again. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

His style of play is a handful to deal with for defenders and his goal was that of a seasoned frontman. He can be pleased with his international break.

Give McTominay a chance

For the second game in succession, the opposition were able to get joy against this three at the back system down the side where McTominay was placed. Clarke has used him as a centre-back in these last two fixtures.

Manchester United’s talented midfielder is a great anchor and he needs to be given the opportunity to play his best role. Again he was left exposed in a position that he doesn’t know, Scotland missing out on his undoubted midfield talents.

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