World Cup Qualifying - European - Group F
Scotland2Malta0

Scotland 2-0 Malta

Christophe Berra scores
Christophe Berra's fourth international goal put Scotland ahead

Scotland beat Malta to move to within a point of second-placed Slovakia in World Cup qualifying Group F.

However, the Scots dropped to fourth place on goal difference because Slovenia beat Lithuania 4-0.

Christophe Berra headed in Leigh Griffiths' corner to put Scotland ahead early on at Hampden.

And Griffiths knocked home on the rebound after James Morrison had fired against the post shortly after the interval.

Slovakia's loss away to group leaders England allowed Gordon Strachan's side and Slovenia to close the gap on second place with two games remaining.

Scotland host Slovakia on 5 October and visit Slovenia three days later, by which time England will have played the Slovenians at Wembley.

England need one more win to secure a place at next year's finals, with the best eight of the nine second-placed teams going into the play-offs.

Group F table

It took England fully 53 minutes to unlock Malta on Friday night, but the Scots managed to do it in nine - and they almost did it even earlier than that.

Stuart Armstrong, James McArthur and James Forrest all threatened before Scotland scored something of a carbon copy of Armstrong's goal that opened proceedings in Friday's 3-0 win away in Lithuania.

Again, it was a Griffiths corner from the right and again it was met by the head of an attacking Scot. For Armstrong in Lithuania read Berra in Glasgow. The Hearts defender climbed above Samuel Magri at the back post and thundered his effort past Andrew Hogg in the Malta goal.

That was better news for the small turnaround of home fans who had earlier heard the developments from Wembley, where Slovakia had gone into an early lead. Scotland needed England to win - or even draw - to keep their own play-off hopes on track. Soothing updates came later in the night, much to the relief of the Tartan Army.

Scotland owned this match but a flood of goals did not materialise. They lost some of their edge when Malta got themselves organised. The visitors defended better, but that was pretty much all they were doing.

For all the matches they have lost in the group - eight out of eight - Malta have shown, at times, an ability to frustrate opponents. As well as denying England a goal for 52 minutes last week, they completed the last 52 minutes of their first encounter with England without conceding any more than the two they had already leaked.

After the goal, Scotland had a few more moments. Armstrong hit the side netting and Matt Phillips had a shot from distance stopped by Hogg, who then beat away another effort from Forrest.

That second goal did arrive, though. Four minutes after the break an Andy Robertson cross was met by Morrison, who had come on to the field for McArthur at half-time.

Morrison's shot hit Malta's left-hand post and came out invitingly to Griffiths, who tapped it in from a yard. Griffiths looked offside, but he wasn't sticking around to ask any questions. He ran away to celebrate his third goal - on top of three assists - in his last three internationals.

Leigh Griffiths scores
Griffiths (number nine) applied the finishing touch for Scotland's second

Scotland had to make a change when Charlie Mulgrew went down injured. He was replaced by Grant Hanley. Then they made another when Griffiths, struggling a little with a knock, departed to make way for Chris Martin. The hope of seeing the exciting sight of Ryan Fraser died a death at that point. Scotland were all out of subs.

The visitors have had a habit of shipping goals in the final minutes of matches in this group, but that habit was halted here. In fact, one of the best moments in the minutes that followed Scotland's second fell to Malta when Joseph Zerafa fired in a shot that Craig Gordon parried away. The loose ball broke near Alfred Effiong, but his own attempt was snuffed out by Hanley.

Scotland could have done with the goals to boost their goal difference, but they have achieved their bottom line these past few days - namely, six points from six.

They now have got themselves into a situation whereby they have control of their destiny in pursuit of that play-off spot. If - and it remains a big 'if' given what's coming - they beat Slovakia at home and then Slovenia away next month then they will take their place in the play-offs.

Hampden had little atmosphere for the visit of Malta. For the Slovakians next month it will be an altogether different story.

Line-ups

Scotland

  • 1Gordon
  • 2Tierney
  • 4Berra
  • 5MulgrewSubstituted forHanleyat 56'minutes
  • 3Robertson
  • 8Brown
  • 11Forrest
  • 7Armstrong
  • 6McArthurSubstituted forMorrisonat 45'minutes
  • 10Phillips
  • 9GriffithsSubstituted forMartinat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12McGregor
  • 13Anya
  • 14Naismith
  • 15Hanley
  • 16Ritchie
  • 17Snodgrass
  • 18Morrison
  • 19Martin
  • 20Fraser
  • 21Archer
  • 22McGinn
  • 23Martin

Malta

  • 1Hogg
  • 4BorgSubstituted forMuscatat 86'minutes
  • 3Magri
  • 5Agius
  • 13Muscat
  • 19Zerafa
  • 18KristensenSubstituted forFenechat 85'minutes
  • 6FenechBooked at 29mins
  • 21Pisani
  • 10SchembriSubstituted forGambinat 71'minutes
  • 20Effiong

Substitutes

  • 2Muscat
  • 7Failla
  • 8Fenech
  • 9Mifsud
  • 11Gambin
  • 12Bonello
  • 14Farrugia
  • 16Borg
  • 22Johnson
Referee:
Jakob Kehlet
Attendance:
26,371

Match Stats

Home TeamScotlandAway TeamMalta
Possession
Home70%
Away30%
Shots
Home25
Away5
Shots on Target
Home10
Away1
Corners
Home9
Away2
Fouls
Home12
Away5

Live Text

Match ends, Scotland 2, Malta 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Scotland 2, Malta 0.

Offside, Scotland. Stuart Armstrong tries a through ball, but James Forrest is caught offside.

Hand ball by Paul Fenech (Malta).

Foul by James Morrison (Scotland).

Ryan Fenech (Malta) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Matt Phillips (Scotland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Substitution

Substitution, Malta. Alex Muscat replaces Steve Borg.

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Scotland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Malta. Paul Fenech replaces Bjorn Kristensen.

Foul by Matt Phillips (Scotland).

Steve Borg (Malta) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Alfred Effiong (Malta) left footed shot from very close range is blocked.

Attempt saved. Joseph Zerafa (Malta) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luke Gambin.

Foul by Scott Brown (Scotland).

Alfred Effiong (Malta) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Scotland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

James Morrison (Scotland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Ryan Fenech (Malta).

Substitution

Substitution, Malta. Luke Gambin replaces André Schembri.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. Chris Martin replaces Leigh Griffiths because of an injury.

Andrew Robertson (Scotland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Bjorn Kristensen (Malta).

Foul by Christophe Berra (Scotland).

Alfred Effiong (Malta) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Leigh Griffiths (Scotland) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Scotland) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by James Morrison.

Foul by Grant Hanley (Scotland).

Alfred Effiong (Malta) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Joseph Zerafa.

Attempt missed. Kieran Tierney (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by James Forrest.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. Grant Hanley replaces Charlie Mulgrew because of an injury.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Andrew Hogg.

Attempt saved. James Forrest (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Matt Phillips.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Charlie Mulgrew (Scotland) because of an injury.

Foul by Scott Brown (Scotland).

Alfred Effiong (Malta) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Stephen Pisani (Malta) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by André Schembri.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Monday 4th September 2017

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France85211551017
2Sweden85121871116
3Netherlands84131611513
4Bulgaria84041317-412
5Luxembourg8125717-105
6Belarus8125416-125

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland88001831524
2Portugal87012842421
3Hungary8314119210
4Faroe Islands8224415-118
5Andorra8116217-154
6Latvia8107318-153

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany88003523324
2Northern Ireland86111621419
3Azerbaijan8314812-410
4Czech Rep823310919
5Norway8215816-87
6San Marino8008238-360

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia7430167915
2R. of Ireland734095413
3Wales7250105511
4Austria72239908
5Georgia7043711-44
6Moldova7025418-142

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Poland86111811719
2Montenegro85121871116
3Denmark85121871116
4Romania82338809
5Armenia8206819-116
6Kazakhstan8026422-182

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England86201631320
2Slovakia8503146815
3Slovenia8422104614
4Scotland84221410414
5Lithuania8125618-125
6Malta8008221-190

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain76102432119
2Italy75111871116
3Albania740398112
4Israel7304913-49
5Macedonia7205913-46
6Liechtenstein7007126-250

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium87103533222
2Bos-Herze84221981114
3Greece8341115613
4Cyprus8314812-410
5Estonia8224617-118
6Gibraltar8008337-340

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia75111221016
2Ukraine7421115614
3Iceland741297213
4Turkey7322118311
5Finland7115510-54
6Kosovo7016319-161
View full World Cup Qualifying - European tables

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