Gareth Bale kick-started Wales's World Cup qualifying campaign with two late goals to seal a precious win against Scotland in Cardiff.
James Morrison's predatory strike, seizing on Steven Fletcher's flick, had seemed set to give Scotland their first Group A victory.
But when Bale was clipped by Shaun Maloney in the area he picked himself up to coolly convert the penalty.
Then with three minutes remaining the Tottenham winger unleashed a brilliant 25-yard left-foot shot that curled into the top corner.
Fifa 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group A
It was a dramatic ending and the result eases the pressure on Wales boss Chris Coleman but leaves his Scottish counterpart Craig Levein facing an uncertain future.
Levein had attracted criticism after Scotland opened with two home draws against Serbia and Macedonia while Wales had started with a defeat to Belgium in Cardiff and a 6-1 thumping in Serbia.
But after Coleman avoided becoming the first Wales manager to lose five successive games at the start of his tenure he can now face Croatia on Tuesday with renewed heart.
The Scots, who had not won in Cardiff since 1983, were boosted by the return of two Fletchers to the side.
Manchester United midfielder Darren had been out for 11 months with a chronic bowel complaint but returned to captain Scotland, while striker Steven - in hot scoring form for Sunderland - was back having buried the hatchet with Levein after a two-year exile.
The two players were to the fore as Scotland took an early grip on the game, Darren Fletcher sitting just in front of his defence and spreading the ball wisely, while his striking namesake lurked on the shoulders of the Welsh defenders.
A series of short free-kicks, with Gary Caldwell heavily involved, gave Wales some nervous early moments, but when they broke clear Bale flashed a volley a couple of feet above Allan McGregor's goal.
The Tottenham winger had started on the right and moments later Bale went even closer after being picked out by Chris Gunter's lofted pass down the flank.
Bale cut back inside Daniel Fox and unleashed a curling left-foot shot that went just wide of the far post.
Scotland's best chance of the opening quarter fell to Alan Hutton, but the full-back's speculative shot caused Lewis Price no discomfort as it sailed high over his bar.
The adventure from Scotland's full-backs - Hutton and Fox - did leave spaces for Wales to counter into though.
Aaron Ramsey, stripped of the Wales captaincy in favour of Ashley Williams, surged upfield before playing in Joe Allen on the left.
The Liverpool midfielder brought the ball on to his right foot and only a fine sliding charge from Caldwell stopped the goal-bound shot.
Bale continued to threaten and outpaced Fox to curl a cross into Morison on the back post.
The changing face of Group A
- This result moves Wales above Scotland in Group A.
- Before tonight's game, Wales had been bottom of the group, having lost both of their opening matches.
- Scotland now have just two points from three matches.
- Neither side's prospects of qualifying look particularly healthy with Scotland now facing a trip to leaders Belgium and Wales travelling to Croatia for a tricky tie.
- Chris Coleman had lost his first four matches in charge of Wales before tonight. No Welsh coach has ever lost their first five games.
The Norwich striker had space and time to pick his spot but sent his header back across goal past the outside of the post.
As several Wales players shook their heads in disbelief, McGregor thumped the ball long and high downfield where Steven Fletcher was alive to the opportunity.
The Sunderland striker outmuscled his marker to flick the ball into Morrison's path and the West Brom man accepted the invitation to bury the ball low past Price.
Scotland could have doubled their lead when the in-form Steven Fletcher scuffed his shot into the chest of a grateful Lewis with the goal at his mercy.
In a breathless last five minutes of the half, both sides should have added goals.
First Allen blazed over after Bale had produced another barn-storming run down the right, then at the other end Morrison could not keep his shot down after being picked out by Hutton.
Levein sent on Charlie Adam in midfield for Scott Brown after the break, while opposite number Coleman stayed his hand.
Darcy Blake had been given a torrid time by Steven Fletcher in the first half, but Coleman had no other specialist centre-backs in his injury-hit squad.
The Wales boss was also without the suspended James Collins and will also be without Ramsey for Tuesday's trip to Croatia, after the Arsenal midfielder was booked for a clumsy lunge on Hutton.
Morison had got little change out of Caldwell and Christophe Berra, so Barnsley's Craig Davies came on for his first Wales appearance in almost five years.
While Davies added some extra muscle, Scotland continued to threaten and only a fine reaction save from Price denied Morrison his second after a deflection fell kindly.
Ramsey then wasted another gilt-edged Wales chance after racing on to Ben Davies' clearance, shooting wide when through on McGregor.
Steven Fletcher thought he had doubled Scotland's advantage but an eagle-eyed referee's assistant ruled the ball had just gone out before the striker bundled home.
The brilliant Bale then earned Wales a lifeline, driving into the area before being clipped by Maloney.
The Spurs wide man grabbed the ball and sent McGregor the wrong way to level the scores.
Then with time running out Bale was allowed to run at the defence and, while falling back, unleashed an unstoppable left-foot curler that sailed into the far top corner.
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Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +3:51
The ball is delivered by Gary Caldwell, Darcy Blake makes a clearance.90:00 +3:02
A cross is delivered by Charlie Adam, Kenny Miller takes a shot. Comfortable save by Lewis Price.90:00 +1:44
Joe Allen gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Charlie Adam. Direct free kick taken by Gary Caldwell.90:00 +1:33
Unfair challenge on Darren Fletcher by Aaron Ramsey results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Allan McGregor.88:05
Assist by David Vaughan.88:05 Goal scored
Goal! - Gareth Bale - Wales 2 - 1 Scotland Goal scored by Gareth Bale from just outside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Wales 2-1 Scotland.87:47
Charlie Adam challenges Gareth Bale unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Vaughan restarts play with the free kick.86:34
Jamie Mackie fouled by Ben Davies, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Charlie Adam.85:00
Effort on goal by Alan Hutton from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.84:32
Centre by Jamie Mackie.83:10
Lewis Price takes the free kick.83:10 Substitution
Substitution James Morrison leaves the field to be replaced by Kenny Miller.83:10 Substitution
Substitution Jamie Mackie is brought on as a substitute for Kris Commons.83:10
Corner taken left-footed by Kris Commons from the right by-line, Charlie Adam challenges Lewis Price unfairly and gives away a free kick.81:24
Free kick awarded for a foul by James Morrison on Joe Allen. Free kick taken by Joe Allen.81:02
The assistant referee flags for offside against Steven Fletcher. Darcy Blake restarts play with the free kick.80:04 Goal scored
Goal! - Gareth Bale - Wales 1 - 1 Scotland Placed penalty scored by Gareth Bale. Wales 1-1 Scotland.79:01
Foul by Shaun Maloney on Gareth Bale, Penalty awarded.77:28
Corner taken by Aaron Ramsey, clearance made by Christophe Berra.
Aaron Ramsey takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post. Gareth Bale takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Caldwell.75:35
The referee penalises Craig Davies for handball. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.74:54
Joe Allen crosses the ball, save made by Allan McGregor.74:05
Centre by Charlie Adam. The assistant referee signals for offside against Steven Fletcher. Indirect free kick taken by Lewis Price.73:32
A cross is delivered by Shaun Maloney, clearance made by Darcy Blake.73:20
Alan Hutton produces a cross, Joe Allen makes a clearance.72:45
Free kick taken by Charlie Adam.72:45 Booking
Booking Joe Allen is cautioned.72:42
Joe Allen gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James Morrison.72:23
Free kick awarded for a foul by James Morrison on David Vaughan. David Vaughan takes the direct free kick.71:46
Steven Fletcher takes a shot. Ashley Williams gets a block in.71:02
Foul by Alan Hutton on Hal Robson-Kanu, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Ben Davies.70:12 Substitution
Substitution Hal Robson-Kanu joins the action as a substitute, replacing Joe Ledley.69:55
Shot by Gareth Bale from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.68:30
Close range effort by Aaron Ramsey misses to the left of the goal.67:36
Corner taken right-footed by Shaun Maloney from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Craig Davies.67:23
The ball is crossed by Daniel Fox, clearance by Darcy Blake.66:08
The ball is swung over by Alan Hutton.65:43
Shot by James Morrison. Save by Lewis Price.64:42
Aaron Ramsey crosses the ball, Allan McGregor makes a save.63:56 Substitution
Substitution Craig Davies joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steve Morison.61:31
Gary Caldwell takes the free kick.61:31 Booking
Booking Aaron Ramsey is cautioned.61:21
Aaron Ramsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alan Hutton.61:03
Alan Hutton crosses the ball, clearance made by Darcy Blake.54:12
Outswinging corner taken by Aaron Ramsey.52:02 Booking
Booking Gareth Bale is shown a yellow card for dissent.51:24
Aaron Ramsey takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post.50:38
Ben Davies challenges Charlie Adam unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Allan McGregor.50:22
A cross is delivered by Gareth Bale, clearance made by Christophe Berra.49:52
Darren Fletcher delivers the ball. Steven Fletcher is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Free kick taken by Lewis Price.49:13
Inswinging corner taken by Shaun Maloney from the left by-line, clearance made by Ashley Williams.48:53
The ball is crossed by Alan Hutton, save made by Lewis Price.47:35
The referee blows for offside against Steve Morison. Free kick taken by Allan McGregor.46:56
Gareth Bale fouled by Daniel Fox, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Gareth Bale from right wing, Darren Fletcher manages to make a clearance.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +1:09 Half time
Half Time The players leave the pitch at half time.45:00 +0:28
Corner taken by Kris Commons.45:00 +0:13
Centre by Alan Hutton, Ben Davies gets a block in.45:00 Substitution
Substitution Charlie Adam on for Scott Brown.44:25
Centre by Aaron Ramsey, clearance made by Daniel Fox.42:47
Alan Hutton sends in a cross. James Morrison produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.40:55
Gareth Bale delivers the ball, Shot from deep inside the area by Aaron Ramsey clears the bar.39:36
Ben Davies produces a cross, blocked by Kris Commons.39:15
Joe Allen fouled by Kris Commons, the ref awards a free kick. David Vaughan takes the direct free kick.38:35
Foul by Steven Fletcher on Darcy Blake, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Darcy Blake.38:11
Ben Davies has an effort at goal from outside the box which goes wide left of the target.38:00
The ball is sent over by Gareth Bale, Alan Hutton makes a clearance.37:32
A cross is delivered by Daniel Fox, Steven Fletcher takes a shot. Save by Lewis Price.36:02
Shot from just outside the box by Joe Allen misses to the right of the goal.34:22
Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Gareth Bale.34:22 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Gary Caldwell for unsporting behaviour.34:11
Gary Caldwell challenges Joe Ledley unfairly and gives away a free kick.33:25
Joe Allen sends in a cross, clearance by Darren Fletcher.31:36
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kris Commons by David Vaughan. Daniel Fox takes the free kick.30:35
Kris Commons produces a cross.26:49
Assist on the goal came from Steven Fletcher.26:49 Goal scored
Goal! - James Morrison - Wales 0 - 1 Scotland James Morrison gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Wales 0-1 Scotland.26:01
Centre by Gareth Bale, Close range headed effort by Steve Morison misses to the right of the goal.24:24
The ball is crossed by Daniel Fox.23:44
Chris Gunter challenges Shaun Maloney unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shaun Maloney takes the direct free kick.23:26
Aaron Ramsey fouled by Scott Brown, the ref awards a free kick. Aaron Ramsey takes the free kick.23:04
Joe Allen takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Caldwell.21:50
Shot by Alan Hutton from just outside the area goes over the net.17:56
The offside flag is raised against Gary Caldwell. Free kick taken by Lewis Price.16:49
Joe Ledley challenges Kris Commons unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Kris Commons.15:28
Unfair challenge on Gareth Bale by Daniel Fox results in a free kick. Chris Gunter takes the free kick.14:27
Darren Fletcher concedes a free kick for a foul on Gareth Bale. Free kick taken by Aaron Ramsey.12:37
Ben Davies challenges Kris Commons unfairly and gives away a free kick. Darren Fletcher takes the free kick.12:10
Gareth Bale concedes a free kick for a foul on Shaun Maloney. Direct free kick taken by James Morrison.10:33
Steven Fletcher concedes a free kick for a foul on Darcy Blake. David Vaughan takes the direct free kick.9:30
Gareth Bale has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.8:09
Aaron Ramsey fouled by Darren Fletcher, the ref awards a free kick. David Vaughan restarts play with the free kick.7:55
Centre by James Morrison.6:14
Effort on goal by Gareth Bale from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.5:34
Kris Commons challenges Joe Ledley unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Lewis Price.3:19
Scott Brown concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Gunter. Lewis Price takes the free kick.3:00
Corner taken by Shaun Maloney, Aaron Ramsey makes a clearance.2:33
Foul by Aaron Ramsey on Kris Commons, free kick awarded. James Morrison restarts play with the free kick. The ball is sent over by Alan Hutton, clearance made by Steve Morison.1:46
David Vaughan challenges Scott Brown unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Kris Commons.1:04
The ball is delivered by Shaun Maloney, clearance by Darcy Blake.0:32
Steve Morison is caught offside. Gary Caldwell takes the indirect free kick.0:11
Steven Fletcher is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Lewis Price.0:00
The referee gets the game started.
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