Terrific Scotland stun Spain in seismic victory

Scott McTominay of Scotland celebrates scoring his second goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying round group A match between Scotland and Spain at Hampden Park on March 28, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Sensational Scotland took a seismic leap in their bid to reach consecutive European Championships by stunning Spain in a heroic triumph.

Scott McTominay crashed in a deflected opener after just seven minutes, triggering an explosion of noise inside a charged Hampden Park.

Steve Clarke’s team rode their luck to stay ahead at the break, only for McTominay to repeat his earlier feat just after the restart to cause chaos in the stands as well as in the bamboozled Spanish defence.

Scotland, in their first competitive victory over Spain for 39 years, now top Group A – three points above the humbled Spaniards and five in front of a stuttering Norway.

Scotland’s support are among the most passionate. Even in defeat in Kazakhstan; in incessant matches with Israel; in a 1-0 humbling by Costa Rica; in a last-gasp Harry Kane equaliser; and also in getting to a major championships for the first time in a generation only to have your goalie lobbed from the half-way line.

A top-10 side in Croatia were undone here 10 years ago, but surely not since World Cup finalists France were heroically beaten in 2006 and 2007 has that loyalty been vindicated as it was at a national stadium dripping with drama as much as the damp Glaswegian weather.

Clarke steered Scotland to Euro 2020, but in terms of landmark nights, this one is up there with dumping Denmark and shootouts in Serbia. And then some.

From the seventh minute, Scotland were on the march. Pedro Porro, Spurs’ beleaguered full-back, slipped, leaving the door open for Andy Robertson to pounce. His cut back was perfect for McTominay, whose low rifled shot whizzed off the sprawling Inigo Martinez and into the net.

If that was met with hysteria, you could have heard a pin drop when Scotland’s new hero struck again on the 51st minute.

This time it was Kieran Tierney’s cross after a marauding run that the Spaniards didn’t deal with. Fifty thousand held their collective breath as the leather of McTominay’s boot struck on the half volley.

Bedlam ensued in the stands, while Clarke allowed himself a modest fist pump in a fleeting glimpse of emotion.

In truth, it was a killer blow that caused Spain – who made eight changes from the side which overcame Norway 3-0 on Saturday – to capitulate. Passes all over the place, 50/50s lost.

They were a shadow of the team that had the Scots clinging to a half-time lead. Their second defeat in 39 European Championship qualifiers was in the post.

While Ryan Christie’s meandering run and toe poke whistled past for what would have been a quick second, Espanyol’s Joseulu soon caused chaos. He had a free header straight at Angus Gunn saved, before then thundering another off a rattled crossbar.

There was then a moment of madness from Robertson, who was lucky to escape a shoulder to Porro’s jaw. It was a bombardment at that point.

But Scotland should have added to their lot, too. Lyndon Dykes steered over when one-on-one just before the break, while John McGinn whacked the bar straight from a free-kick.

In the end it did not matter. The game came to a close with a chorus of “no Scotland, no party”. It may be going for some time.

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