Macedonia v Scotland as it happened

Scotland beat Macedonia in Skopje in their penultimate match in World Cup qualifying Group A.

11 September 2013 Last updated at 11:30

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As it happened

  1. 1830: 

    Scotland melted in the searing Skopje heat the last time they played in Macedonia.

    Ilcho Naumoski's strike ensured their 2010 World Cup qualification campaign got off to a losing start in George Burley's first competitive game in charge.

    Tonight, Gordon Strachan's troops will face heat of a different kind as they seek to avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom of World Cup qualifying Group A.

  2. 1832: 

    The Scots are two points behind their opponents and, with only Croatia to come in a disappointing 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, they'll be keen to finish on a high.

    Victory in Croatia afforded Scotland fans a rare smile; and a narrow defeat by England at Wembley indicated further progress under Strachan's tutelage.

    However, four goals in eight qualifying games illustrates the problem Strachan faces in fashioning a national side capable of winning consistently.

  3. 1833: 

    Macedonia are miserly under Cedomir Janevski: only Belgium and Croatia have conceded fewer than the eight goals they've shipped in the current campaign.

  4. 1834: 

    Last September, Kenny Miller cancelled out Nikolce Noveski's goal to earn a point at Hampden as the sides fought out a 1-1 draw.

    But veteran marksman Miller has since hung up his boots and retired from Scotland duty. And Scotland's task is made more difficult on account of Jordan Rhodes's withdrawal through injury.

  5. 1835: 

    Three changes to the Scotland side that lost to Belgium on Friday...

    Barry Bannan, Ikechi Anya and Steven Naismith come in, with Robert Snodgrass (suspended), Leigh Griffiths and James Forrest drop out.

  6. 1837: 

    Scotland: Marshall, Hutton, Martin, Hanley, Whittaker, Brown, Mulgrew, Bannan, Maloney, Anya, Naismith.

  7. 1838: 
    Scotland manager Gordon Strachan
    Scotland manager Gordon Strachan

    "There's suspensions, injuries and we've got the opportunity to try something different and we've decided to do that.

    "Most of the team is made up and we just had to decide on one or two positions. I hope Anya gives himself something to enjoy and go at the pace he can go.

    "I'm looking for the same players to play the same again and do their best.

    "I finished bottom of the group in 1984 and it never affected my career; I forgot all about it..."

  8. 1839: 

    The Scotland boss is not best pleased with the playing surface at the National Arena Philip II.

    BBC Sportsound pundit Billy Dodds has described it as "incredibly bad".

  9. 1840: 

    Is it the right time to rage against the dying of the light? Under Strachan, the Scots appear to have a spring in their step after a period in the doldrums.

    Will the manager's raconteur-style pay dividends in time? For a boss who places the emphasis on his players enjoying themselves, you wouldn't be surprised if he sleeps with one of his eyebrows constantly arched...

    How do you see the game going tonight?

    What's been your highlight/low point of campaign? Robert Snodgrass's winner in Zagreb springs to mind as Scotland's zenith; would Gareth Bale's late, late winner in Cardiff be the nadir?

    Text 80295 or tweet using the hashtag #bbcsportscot and @bbcthomasmcg


    Dave Lossie: "Lets face it Scotland are much better under Strachan but what about these call-offs? Funny this didn't happen when we played England at Wembley where i think there was one call off? Could it be their minds are already on the weekend games?"

  11. 1845: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Billy Dodds

    "We'll be doing well here to come away with a good performance and a draw..."

  12. 1849: 

    The Sportsound team are chewing over Gordon Strachan's starting line-up and the merits of deploying Steven Naismith in the lone frontman role.

    What do you think? Does the team carry a sufficient goal threat?

    Text 80295 or tweet using #bbcsportscot and @bbcthomasmcg

    Tweet from Skopje

    Therealpsmst: "Did you know that Macedonia has (sort of) kilts too? :) This is in Skopje..."


    Charlie, Monifieth: "Scotland play without a striker. Wasn't Craig Levein lambasted by all and sundry for exactly that?"

    Anonymous: "Although I can appreciate we have to change our tactics to accommodate a superior team, against the likes of Macedonia we should be brave enough to try to dictate the game - and play 2 strikers!"

  15. 1858: 

    BBC Sportsound pundit Chick Young has lamented the lack of star quality in the Scotland line-up. "I don't see anyone out there with a magic wand at the moment," opines the bold Chico...


    Scott 'the upbeat in Fife' "You all miss the point with this side. It IS another 11 with no striker. We know our limitations, that we really are not very good, but thousands of us (28,000 last Friday) keep turning up in hope of something, anything. IF we fall to defeat tonight more fans will be lost as they see no measure of hope to attack. There are strikers in the squad, not good enough perhaps but they have more chance of scoring than midfielders. Criticise us but we pay our money and travel huge distances. If Scotland park the bus then the fans will park theirs and the downward cycle of despair continues. If they score where will a goal come from in our team. Hoping I am so so wrong."

  17. 1900: 

    Speaking ahead of tonight's game, Gordon Strachan said Scotland face a team of similar stature to themselves in Macedonia.

    "They beat Wales, which we've not managed to do," said Strachan. "I think their style will be the same.

    "Technically, the Macedonians are very good. But, like us, they have a small pool to pick from.

    "We're making progress. We've no time to rest.

    "It's important to go and win every game you play, because every time you perform, you'll feel good about yourself.

    "If you don't perform and you don't win, you don't feel good about yourself and you take a step backwards.

    "I can work with winning and trying to progress - it's not one or the other, we can do both."


    Rod Gray: "Not nearly enough goal threat. Naismith over McCormack or Mackie? Pure mental so it is! #bbcsportscot"

    Brian Robb: "Time for the young boys to play with pride & up to the standard of Gordon, Graeme & Kenny!! Go to it and show us all!"

  19. 1905: 

    Four changes to the Macedonia team that beat Wales 2-1 on Friday.

    David Babunski, Adis Jahovic, Aleksandar Trajkovski and Ostoja Stjepanovic replace Nikola Gligorov, Darko Tasevki, Jovan Kostovski and Agim Ibraimi.

    Goran Pandev was the star of the show when the sides drew at Hampden; Scotland will be keen to keep the shackles on Macedonia's number 10 tonight.

    Kick off is at 19:30 BST, with live coverage on BBC One Scotland and BBC Radio's Sportsound.

    Stick with me, too, to offer your thoughts on the action.


    Scott 'the upbeat' in Fife: "Scotland team for next campaign: Stagecoach, Parks, Rennies, Gibsons, Citylink, Arriva, Fairline. Mackies, Dodds, Moffat and Williamson. Strangely no driver up front..."


    Alistair Thomson: "Utterly dismayed by WGS's decision to play lone striker. Why not give the travelling fans some attacking football to cheer?"

  22. 1916: 

    We're also providing live video of the game in Skopje, it will be available to view five minutes before kick off at the top of the live text commentary...

  23. 1918: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller

    "I hope we take a point or three games from tonight's game as it would offer a stepping stone to the important games coming up next year."


    EthuCrorie: "Shall we see them play for at least 20 minutes before being so negative about the line up? Give them a chance #bbcsportscot"

  25. 1922: 

    The Scotland fans inside the National Arena Philip II in Skopje acclaim the visitors as they trot out onto the much-maligned pitch.

  26. 1923: 

    Rubbing my eyes in disbelief as the Macedonia mascot trotted onto the pitch; he/she appeared to be wearing some kind of cat/lynx mask.

    What to make of the feline tactic? Will the hosts win by a whisker?

    Text 80295 or tweet using #bbcsportscot and @bbcthomasmcg

  27. 1925: 

    Macedonia: Pacovski, Georgievski, Ristovski, Noveski, Sikov, Trickovski, Babunski, Jahovic, Pandev, Trajkovski, Stjepanovic. Subs: Naumovski, Tofiloski, Daniel Ivanovski, Grncarov, Randjelovic, Mojsov, Gligorov, Kostovski, Lazevski, Mirko Ivanovski, Tasevski.

    Scotland: Marshall, Hutton, Martin, Hanley, Whittaker, Mulgrew, Brown, Bannan, Maloney, Naismith, Anya. Subs: Gilks, Conway, Mackie, Wallace, Griffiths, McArthur, Bryson, McCormack, Samson, Thomson, Greer.

    Referee: Fredy Fautrel

  28. 1927: 

    More than a few empty seats inside the stadium as Scotland prepare to get us under way.


    Craig Gallagher "Absolutely could care less about the formation/number of strikers if we win this game. Momentum much more important than style #bbcsportscot."

  30. 1930: 

    We're under way in Skopje...

  31. 1931: 

    Scotland show some early attacking intent through Ikechi Anya, with the ball being played out to Shaun Maloney who is flagged offside.

    Gordon Strachan will be keen for his troops to take the game to Macedonia.

  32. 1932: 

    Ikechi Anya shows his pace once again, this time to snuff out the first Macedonian attack of the game; the hosts attempting to test Scotland's left flank.

    A good start to the game with both sides looking to bomb forward.


    David Sneddon: "#bbcsportscot @BBCthomasmcg Come boys lets get a win and a performance. Get some positives going for the next campaign."

  34. 1935: 

    Macedonia don't look too clever at the back and Ikechi Anya, who is everywhere at the moment, tries to play in Steven Naismith. Moments later Naismith gets a shot at goal following good work from Barry Bannan.

    The visitors have started impressively in Skopje; it remains goalless after five minutes.

  35. 1937: 

    Scotland have a free kick as Noveski chops down lone striker Steven Naismith but the Scots fail to profit from a decent position as Macedonia deal comfortably with the set piece.

  36. 1938: 

    Ikechi Anya is proving a thorn in Macedonia's side; showing for the ball down Scotland's left and running at the defenders at every opportunity.

    BBC Sportsound commentator Richard Gordon says he's proved an important addition to the Scotland squad.


    EC: "Does the pitch also double as a golf course? How can it be so bad in September? Not helping likes of Pandev #bbcsportscot"

    The players are certainly struggling to control the ball on the pitch. Neither keeper will want a trundler of a backpass to deal with...

  38. 1940: 

    Barry Bannan whips in a free-kick from the right but it's too close to Macedonia's keeper Pacovski who claims it confidently like a bear grabbing a salmon in its prodigious mitts...

  39. 1943: 

    Scotland threaten again, this time Steven Naismith shows some neat footwork to step away from his marker and feed Ikechi Anya but the speedster is crowded out by a a sea of red shirts.

    Gordon Strachan will be happy with how his side have performed in the opening 15 minutes. Now, what about a goal?

  40. 1945: 

    Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall warms his gloves for the first time this evening, coming to claim the ball as Goran Pandev tries to get on the end of a flick-on inside the box.

  41. 1947: 

    Some impressive play by Scotland in midfield presents Charlie Mulgrew with a chance to shoot from distance but his wild effort has more chance of knocking out someone's pie and bovril than troubling Pacovski's goal.

  42. 1950: 

    Macedonia have decided that Ikechi Anya is Scotland's dangerman; putting two men on the Watford man every time he receives the ball. The most impressive player of the opening 20 minutes feeds Steven Whittaker but the Norwich full-back's cross fails to find a Scottish head.

  43. 1951: 
    Groundsmen get the pitch in order before the match

    Parts of the pock-marked pitch at the Philip II Arena resemble Mickey Rourke's face in The Wrestler. Suffice to say the players are finding it difficult to control the ball and grapple with the uneven bounce.

  44. 1953: 

    The best chance of the opening 25 minutes falls to Steven Naismith and it's all done to that man Ikechi Anya again. The Watford speedster whips in a sumptuous cross following good work by Shaun Maloney but Naismith gets underneath it and his header drifts over the top.

  45. 1955: 

    Scotland continue to probe and Anya sprints away from bamboozled men in red before cutting it back inside the box... but there's no-one in white to convert.

    Agony for the Scots who are turning the screw in Skopje; but it remains goalless just short of the half-hour mark.


    Les Cook: "#bbcsportscot Is that booing I hear from the crowd every time Anya gets on the ball (and nobody else)? #racisminsport #shameful"

    BBC Sportsound commentator Richard Gordon has mentioned that too.

    Tom Watson: "Scotland may still b in the habit of playin without a recognised striker, but having a recognised manager has made a big difference. #bbcsportscot"

    Malcolm Harvey: "Baby Xanthe has been wailing since kick off. I'd blame her reflux, but I suspect plenty Scots might be joining her by the end. #bbcsportscot"

  47. 2000: 

    What a chance for Scotland! Scott Brown misses out on a third goal for his country, bustling through on goal only to see his effort saved by Pacovski.

  48. 2001: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller

    "He tried to dink it over the keeper, and one-on-one, he'd want to score..."


    Mark Sheridan: "Keeping me sane Thomas; sat here at London City Airport being subjected to England on the telly #partisancrowd keep it coming..."

    We'll hopefully bring you a Scotland goal before you head through the gate!


    Robert Scobie: "Evidently the Vuvuzela craze has only recently swept across Macedonia.. #bbcsportscot #headache"

  51. 2006: 

    Will Scotland rue that Scott Brown miss? The visitors have been the more impressive side and have successfully muzzled Goran Pandev while boasting the best player on the pitch in the form of Ikechi Anya.

  52. 2007: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller

    "Defensively, it's been first class from Scotland. The only thing missing is that goal..."

    Tell us aboot it Willie!

  53. 2009: 

    A sporadic Macedonia attack has the home fans on their feet but Scotland's Grant Hanley mops up the danger with some assured defending.


    Paul Geddes: "Glued to iPad on honeymoon in #Hawaii. C'mon Scotland! #bbcsportscot"

    Don't get sand on it if Scotland score...

  55. 2012: 

    Steven Whittaker embarks on a Forrest Gump gallop that takes him away from the back-tracking Macedonians and he feeds Ikechie Anya whose shot is palmed away by Pacovski.

  56. 2014: 

    Scotland's defence switches off momentarily and is almost made to pay as Trajkovski plays in Jahovic but the number 9's shot finds the side netting. That would've been harsh on Gordon Strachan's troops who have been commanding in this opening 45 minutes.

  57. 2015: 
    HALF-TIME- Macedonia 0-0 Scotland

    A Ikechi Anya-inspired Scotland go into the break goalless in Skopje but they can count themselves unlucky not to be in front. While Macedonia dominated the game at Hampden earlier in the campaign, the Scots have turned the tables tonight. Can Scotland turn their possession into goals?


    Scotbot: "Anya's easily been Scotland's best player so far. #BBCSportScot"

    What a difference to boast a wide man who is confident on the ball and shows time and again for it...

  59. 2019: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Chick Young

    "There hasn't been a failure in the Scotland team so far and it reflects well on the team. Maybe Anya could be that player we've been looking for..."


    Bo Rice Hetherington: "Superb first half from the boys. @IkechiAnya has been brilliant. C'mon SCOTLAND!! Lets finish this with back to back wins. #bbcsportscot"

    Russell Reynolds: "Glad to see #Anya finally get a cap. Quality so far with his pace and runs. Future of #Scotland? #bbcsportscot"

    John Carney: "TM. Can't you type faster? John in Qatar..."

    I've got my weary digits in an ice bucket at the break John....

    Macedonia"s Stefan Ristovski (left) tackles Scotland"s Ikechi Anya

    Ikechi Anya was superb in the opening 45 minutes for Gordon Strachan's side...

    SUBSTITUTION- Scotland make a change

    Goalkeeper David Marshall has a hip problem and will be replaced by Matt Gilks for the second half.

  63. 2028: 

    Serbia lead Wales 2-0 in Cardiff, so a win for Scotland in Skopje would lift Gordon Strachan's side off the foot of Group A and up to fourth.

  64. 2031: 

    Macedonia get the second half under way. Can the Scots find a goal?

  65. 2032: 

    What a chance for Scotland to score! The referee Fredy Fautrel got the game under way then blew his whistle again because... the Macedonian keeper Pacovski wasn't on the pitch. Red faces all round to match the colour of the home shirts.


    Russell Reynolds: "If both Fletchers can get and stay fit, and #Anya keeps up his form, a 2016 run could actually be possible. #bbcsportscot"

    Robbie Devenney: "Well, that's the ref off to the French Sunday leagues now then..."

    Iain Peter Burnett: "Is there only 1 camera in this whole stadium? I want to see that challenge on Naismith again, it was nasty! #bbcsportscot"

    Unfortunately, I think so Iain...

  67. 2037: 

    Barry Bannan, who is smaller than a Dickensian pick-pocket, thwarts a Macedonian attack down the right. The hosts are playing with a greater intensity after that insipid first half display but Scotland continue to plug away in search of the opener.

  68. 2038: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller

    "Macedonia were so lacklustre in the first half when every pass was either square or back the way; their attitude has completely changed. They actually look like they want to win the game."

  69. 2040: 

    The home fans look heavenward as another attack stutters on the edge of the Scotland penalty area and Gordon Strachan will be keen to see his side push up and weather this spell of home pressure.

    A helicopter rumbles overhead; is that coming to spirit away referee Fredy Fautrel after THAT goalkeeper gaffe?

  70. 2043: 

    Macedonia have their tails up since a half-time rollicking, Pandev threads a clever ball through to Jahovic but Scotland recover to snuff out the danger.

    Moments later the visitors get their first sight of goal in the second half, but Anya blazes a decent chance high and wide.

  71. 2045: 
    GOAL- Macedonia 0-1 Scotland (Anya 59mins)

    Scotland make the deserved breakthrough and it's that man Ikechi Anya who collects a cracking pass from Barry Bannan and arrows a shot across Pacovski into the net. His first goal on his first full start for Scotland. Not too shabby is it?

  72. 2047: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller

    "Macedonia had to come out and attack us, their fans demanded it, and we've taken advantage of it..."

  73. 2050: 

    Scotland are on course to move off the foot of World Cup qualifying Group A and are continuing their impressive run away from home: victory in Croatia, a narrow defeat at Wembley and now leading in Skopje.

  74. 2051: 

    The home fans inside the National Arena Philip II are becoming increasingly frustrated at how the second half is unfolding. Talismanic number 10 Goran Pandev hasn't been able to boss the midfield the way he did in the 1-1 draw at Hampden.

  75. 2052: 

    Charlie Mulgrew earns a booking for a full-blooded sliding tackle from behind on Trickovski and the Celtic man will have to tread carefully for the rest of the game.


    Russell Reynolds: "Great way to cap an excellent performance by #Anya. Quality player and finish."

    Willie Thomson: "GET IN THERE! !!!!!!!!!!!!! ANYA YES!!!!!!!!!!!"

    Clyde: "What a finish by Anya! #bbcsportscot"

  77. 2056: 

    Matt Gilks hasn't had a lot to do since replacing David Marshall but he's alive to the danger as he saves smartly from Macedonian trickster Trickovski after good work by Pandev. Scotland fans can breathe again; with 20 minutes remaining.

  78. 2100: 

    Matt Gilks is called into action again this time producing an outstanding save to deny Ivanovski. Take a bow son! And the keeper tips away a thunderbolt from Jahovic.

    The Scots are rocking here, can they hold onto that slender lead?

  79. 2101: 

    The hosts are swarming all over Scotland now, a deep cross finds Trickovski free at the back post and his volley finds the side netting.

  80. 2103: 

    Scotland almost profit from poor defending from the home side as they make a mess of a clearance and Shaun Maloney sends a shot whistling inches past the post.

    Gordon Strachan shuffles his pack: James McArthur coming on for Barry Bannan to add a bit of defensive steal as they look to hold onto their 1-0 lead.

  81. 2105: 

    Lee Wallace comes on for Steven Whittaker as the Scots introduce fresh legs for the final 10 minutes. The home fans are trying to rally their side but Gordon Strachan's men still lead.

  82. 2107: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller

    "We've had to defend in depth and we've done it well. It's been a fantastic performance; we've had to deal with it and we've got the goal."

  83. 2109: 
    Ikechi Anya

    Ikechi Anya capped an impressive performance with a cracking goal to fire Scotland into the lead.

  84. 2110: 
    GOAL- Macedonia 1-1 Scotland (Kostovski 82 mins)

    What a sore one for Scotland. It's the substitute Jovan Kostovski who shows some nimble footwork in the box to collect a pass and slip the ball past Matt Gilks into the net.


  85. 2112: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller

    "It's all about concentration now and I think we deserve something from the game. It's all about concentration and organisation."

  86. 2116: 
    GOAL- Macedonia 1-2 Scotland (Maloney 88mins)

    What a goal, what a goal! James McArthur is chopped down en route to goal by Stjepanovic who is booked for his troubles. Shaun Maloney, with a free kick 25 yards out, bends the ball over the wall and into the top corner. Surely, surely the winner...

    The Tartan Army are going bananas!


    Andrew Priestley: "At long last, Scottish football has something to celebrate! Great away victory in a very hostile atmosphere. #bbcsportscot"

  88. 2118: 

    Scotland attempting to take the sting out of the game and we're deep, deep into injury time in Skopje...

  89. 2120: 

    Steven Naismith plays in Lee Wallace who sees his shot slip just wide of the post as the Scots chase a third!

  90. 2121: 
    FULL-TIME- Macedonia 1-2 Scotland

    Scotland make it two wins from as many games on the road in World Cup qualifying to move off the foot of Group A and up to fourth spot. Imagine if the group was starting afresh next week...


    Robbie Devenney: "Maloney! Always scores the freekicks when he needs to! #bbcsportscot #bbcfootball"


    Russell Reynolds: "Great game for #Scotland. Things are finally starting to look up. Just need players to be fit next time around."

  92. 2125: 

    Serbia are 3-0 up against Wales in Cardiff, so Scotland are on course to shoot up World Cup qualifying Group A.

    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller: "Progress is being made: two massive results away from home against Croatia and Macedonia, it's fabulous."

  93. 2126: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Chick Young

    "If you can't see that Gordon Strachan is the man for the job and is improving the players then you're not looking in the right direction."

  94. 2127: 
    Scotland's Ikechi Anya (centre) celebrates his goal with team-mates Barry Bannan (left) and Steven Naismith

    It's two away wins from as many games for Gordon Strachan's Scotland in World Cup qualifying Group A. The Scots host Croatia at Hampden next month in their final game.

    The Tartan Army are in fine voice as they celebrate victory in Skopje.


    Muzz: "Following #Scotland is a bit like following #Hibs - lots of disappointment but when we do well, all doom and gloom is away #bbcsportscot"


    Russell Reynolds: "Everyone questioned #Scotland playing one striker. When you give your midfield room to score it didn't matter. #bbcfootball #bbcsportscot"


    Rich in Glasgow: "Anya great going forward but did a good shift helping out left back as well. Great find."

    Wayne fae Dundee: "Scotland on the right road: pride, passion commitment and goals... proud."

  98. 2144: 
    Scotland manager Gordon Strachan

    "I'm extremely happy for the players and I thought they were terrific tonight. A draw would've been hard to take and it was hard to think how you would win a game on a surface like that.

    Scotland manager Gordon Strachan congratulates James McArthur

    "To win and play football like that was a dream; we didn't have a failure tonight. We'll get on the plane (home) very happy. What a wonderful night: great football, no failures and the fans have enjoyed themselves; let's leave it at that."

  99. 2147: 
    BBC Sportsound pundit Willie Miller

    "Maybe this will give Gordon Strachan the opportunity to start winning games at home. I hope they get it right; whether you play two games consecutively at home, I don't know..."

    Scotland began their World Cup qualification campaign with two home draws against Serbia and Macedonia. And the two defeat at the hands of Wales proved costly...


    Iain McDowall: "At last Scotland seem to be on the right road and have restored a bit of pride after horrendous start #Scotland #bbcsportscot"


    James Morrison: "Random point: if Scotland had beaten Wales twice (took the lead in both), they would be 3 points behind Croatia for 2nd place. #bbcsportscot

  102. 2155: 

    So, Gordon Strachan's Scotland bandwagon rumbles on away from home. Victory in Skopje lifts them off the foot of World Cup qualifying Group A and up to fourth, ahead of next month's final game against Croatia at Hampden.

    Thanks for your company, tweets and texts tonight. We're back at the weekend with the return of domestic action in the SPFL. Hope you can join us then, cheers.

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