Cyprus 1-2 Scotland: Team showed character after half-time warning - Liam Palmer

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland in Cyprus

Scotland players answered Steve Clarke's half-time warning to react to adversity, says Liam Palmer, after they beat Cyprus 2-1 in Nicosia.

Georgios Efrem's excellent early second-half strike cancelled out Ryan Christie's first goal for his country.

But Scotland responded swiftly with a John McGinn goal to earn a second successive win in Euro 2020 qualifying.

"That showed a good bit of resilience and character that when things aren't going well we don't fold," said Palmer.

"It's something he [Clarke] stressed before the game and at half-time. If things aren't quite going right, just dig in there."

Scotland's win moved them up to third in Group I ahead of their final group game on Tuesday against Kazakhstan, with Clarke's side building towards the play-offs in March, which is their only route now to Euro 2020.

"There are different ways to win a game," said Palmer, who won his fourth cap since making his debut in March.

"This one we've shown a grit and determination that you need coming away to these places - a different sort of atmosphere, the humidity, the pitch - all factors that can tie into it, but we managed to dig in and grind out the result."

'We have to keep positive'

Declan Gallagher in Scotland's win over Cyprus
Declan Gallagher made his Scotland debut in the win over Cyprus

Palmer was the only member of the defence from last month's 6-0 win over San Marino to start in Nicosia as Clarke was forced to reshuffle his backline once more due to injuries.

That meant a debut for Motherwell centre-back Declan Gallagher, who described his first Scotland cap as "things that dreams are made of".

Gallagher said: "It was absolutely amazing to make my debut and get the win.

"They [Cyprus] are a good team the way they move the ball about. It was a really fast game, high tempo and it took me the first 45 minutes to actually catch a breath, but I loved every minute of it."

Gallagher lined up alongside Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna, and is keen to renew that partnership when Kazakhstan visit Hampden in midweek.

"I think we complemented each other well," said the 28-year-old. "I just made sure the striker wasn't getting the ball too easily to feet. It happened early in the first half but I think we got to grips with it. Obviously that was the first time we'd played together so it's good we did well.

"It's a great result. There's been a lot of bad press but coming away from home [and winning] and that's two wins on the trot so hopefully we can build on that with the play-off games coming up soon. We have to keep positive."

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