Scotland v Lithuania history: Dire draws & dives

By Andy CampbellBBC Sport Scotland
Steven Naismith scores against Lithuania in 2011
Steven Naismith scored Scotland's winner in Lithuania's last visit to Hampden
World Cup qualifying Group F: Scotland v Lithuania
Date: Saturday, 8 October Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

While Scotland coach Gordon Strachan will be facing Lithuania as a manager for the first time on Saturday, the Tartan Army are very well acquainted with the northern European republic.

Here, BBC Sport looks back at the previous meetings between the Scots and an often awkward Baltic opponent.

Dire draws

Scotland have twice opened European Championship qualifying campaigns with 0-0 draws in Lithuania.

Fresh from their appearance at the France 1998 World Cup, Craig Brown's side travelled to Vilnius for the first meeting between the nations, with Lithuania having become independent from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

A fresh-faced Barry Ferguson made his Scotland debut after breaking into the Rangers team while another more familiar face, Ally McCoist, was back in the international reckoning.

Former Ibrox forward McCoist had missed out on World Cup selection but a recent hat-trick with new club Kilmarnock against Hearts prompted a recall.

Sadly, for both Ferguson and McCoist, there was no way through a stubborn Lithuanian side.

It was a similar story 12 years later in Kaunas when Craig Levein's Scotland opened their ill-fated Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. Conservatism was the winner as both sides settled for a point.

Barry Ferguson playing for Scotland against Lithuania
Ferguson made his international debut in Lithuania

'He dived!'

Saulius Mikoliunas' relationship with Scottish football fans never quite recovered from an infamous 'dive' during a match at Hampden in 2007.

Alex McLeish's Scotland were well in the mix for qualification to Euro 2008 but needed a home win to maintain their momentum.

Kris Boyd set the ball rolling with the opening goal but, as the BBC Sport match report from the day says, "Mikoliunas flung himself to the ground" when challenged by Scottish skipper Darren Fletcher and Tomas Danilevicus converted the resulting penalty.

Justice was done, however, with Stephen McManus and James McFadden netting late goals to secure a 3-1 win.

The reputation of Mikoliunas, then of Hearts, somewhat went before him in many of his subsequent domestic appearances, with opposition fans only too willing to remind him of his infamous contribution at Hampden.

Craig Gordon and Saulius Mikoliunas
Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon had been a Hearts team-mate of Mikoliunas'

'Lithuania were very, very lucky'

Berti Vogts had little to enjoy during his tenure as Scotland manager and a 1-0 defeat in Kaunas was an especially lamentable loss.

Tomas Razanauskas' penalty gave Lithuania their first and, to date, only victory over the Scots.

Post-match, Vogts would describe the victors as "very, very lucky".

His team would atone for that loss with a solitary-goal victory at Hampden, Fletcher netting the winner, and Scotland would eventually reach the Euro 2004 play-offs.

Not always awkward

Scotland, under Brown, previously reached the Euro 2000 play-offs and a 3-0 home win over Lithuania was an important stepping stone.

Walter Smith's Scotland won 2-1 in Kaunas in 2006, with the hosts scoring late, and Levein's side were 1-0 winners at Hampden almost five years ago to the day thanks to a Steven Naismith strike.

Kenny Miller
Kenny Miller scored in a 2-1 win in Kaunas a decade ago

Following Saturday's ninth meeting with Lithuania, Scotland have an away date in Slovakia on Tuesday. The game in Trnava will mark the first encounter between the nations.

With no historical baggage to pack, spirits will be lifted further for a tough trip to Group F's second seeds if a familiar foe is vanquished at the weekend.

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