Match Reports

Scotland 0-0 USA: How did Steven Fletcher and Craig Conway rate?

Written by Danny Collins.

In Scotland’s bland 0-0 draw with the USA, The Away End  focused on the performance of the man who will be tasked with firing Scotland to Euro 2016, Steven Fletcher.
 
With Kenny Miller now retired from international football (and the same can also be said for Fletcher's past nemesis Craig Levein), the ex-Hibernian striker is likely to be the man the goalscoring hopes rest on. 
 
Some focus was also directed on Brighton and Scotland playmaker Craig Conway who was handed a surprising start by manager Gordon Strachan. Conway has the ability to be a big player for Scotland in the next qualifying campaign, and was given the opportunity to show he deserve a more regular starting place.
 
Fletcher made his return from injury and started as a lone striker. It was interesting to see how he fared up linking with his international teammates.

Craig Conway started out on the wide left hand side and was expected to create the chances for teammate Fletcher up front.

Both players were involved early on in the game with Fletcher having the first clear cut chance.  The centre forward picked the ball on the 18 yard line and attempted to blast the ball into the top corner.  However, getting his timing all wrong, the ball sailed over the bar into row z (that's triple z at Hampden).
 
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Scotland 2-0 Croatia: Barry Bannan v Luka Modrić

Written by Andrew Southwick.

In Scotland's 2-0 victory over Croatia, The Away End  focused on pint size midfielder Barry Bannan, and Real Madrid's Luka Modrić.

Bannan hasn't featured much at all in Scotland's ultimately doomed campaign to qualify for Brazil 2014, however with Shaun Maloney missing the Crystal Palace man was given his chance on the right.

With manager Gordon Strachan looking to find his strongest starting XI ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifiers next year, it was a huge game for the former Aston Villa man.

Despite the defeat, Croatia still have their eye on qualifying for the World Cup. If they are to get there, Modrić will be a key man in the play-offs. Up against Scott Brown in midfield, it was always going to be an intriguing battle.

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Scotland U21 2-1 Slovakia U21: Tactical Analysis

Written by Mark McDougall.

Scotland lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation with Jordan Archer in goals, a back four of Ryan Jack, Jordan McGhee, Stuart Findlay and Clark Robertson. Calum McGregor and Dylan McGeouch took their places on either flank, Lewis Macleod and Fraser Fyvie in the middle with Stuart Armstrong just behind Steven May.

Slovakia lined up in a more orthodox 4-4-2. Patrik Legiand was their goalkeeper, with a back four of Lukas Pauschek, Norbert Gyomber, Branislav Nidaj and Robert Mazad. Their midfield consisted of Stanislav Lobotka, Jakub Paur, Ivan Schranz and Jakub Vojtus with Milan Lakovid and Adam Zredak in attack.

First Half: A half of two halves?

For the opening 22 minutes, the game was very scrappy with neither side capable of taking control of the game. The opening 22 minutes were mainly played in the middle of the field and it was Scotland’s duo of Lewis Macloed and Fraser Fyvie came out on top.

The second part of the first half Scotland began to take control and opened the scoring on 30 minutes.

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Queen of the South 0-3 Rangers: No Ramsdens Cup repeat for Doonhamers

Written by Michael Temlett.

RANGERS prevented a repeat of last years Ramsdens Cup with a 3-0 win over Queen of the South at Palmerston.
 
The Ibrox side were ahead thanks to an early Bilel Mohsni goal, and their place in the semi-finals was sealed by Jon Daly and Lee McCulloch in the last 15 minutes.
 
The latter two goals came after the home side saw Chris Higgins red carded for a late challenge on Chris Smith with the score still at 1-0.
 
“I think the sending off was pivotal as it was Chris Higgins’ man who went on to score," said Doonhamers boss Jim McIntyre. "But it is a booking for that second one and he should’ve stayed on his feet.

“But I’ve got nothing but pride for the players as we took the game to Rangers first half and created good goalscoring opportunities. We just didn’t have that ruthless streak that they had tonight. I wanted to have a go and I think we did that.”

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Elgin City 3-3 Montrose: 10 man Elgin earn draw

Written by Colette Carr.

ELGIN City battled for a share of the spoils as they held Montrose in a six goal thriller at Boroughbriggs.

Four goals in nine minutes and City captain David Niven receiving a straight red with 30 minutes to play meant the game was full of action, but both managers were left disappointed.

City boss Ross Jack regretted missed chances in the first half and disputed Niven's dismissal.

He said: "We missed so many chances in the first half to go ahead 4-1 and not half chances, glaring chances.

"We're disappointed with our goal, and the disallowed one. Offside? Couldn't understand that one.

"I thought the game was there to be won.

"David Niven was a great tackle, it was a trailing leg that caught the boy, no treatment, the boy's fine, gets back up, key player and lost it for a while there, and very disappointed.

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U20s: Aberdeen 1-4 St Johnstone

Written by Grant Milne.

BOTTOM side Aberdeen remain winless after five matches in the SPFL under 20s league following a 4-1 home reversal against St Johnstone.

Craig Thomson’s long-range drive had the away side ahead before a Marcus Campanile header equalled affairs around the hour mark. However, three goals in a 15-minute period proved decisive for St Johnstone, who had goalkeeper Mark Hurst to thank with a number of excellent stops throughout.

Eager to hit back after losing that late equaliser against Celtic last week, St Johnstone wasted little time in putting themselves ahead. Thomson picked the ball up on the right-hand side before travelling 20 yards, opening up his body and firing a fantastic side-footed effort beyond Nicky Weaver from the edge of the penalty area.

Their lead was almost cancelled out little over a minute later, Saints goalkeeper Mark Hurst called into action early on to deny Craig Murray who had latched onto a through ball, although he managed to get an effort away, Hurst made an excellent stop at his near post, before also having to save down low from Scott McKenna’s header via the resulting corner with Lawrence Shankland seeing his rebound hooked off the goalline.

The action was coming thick and fast in the first quarter and quickly flowed back to the other end, with Weaver having to make his first real stop of the game, pounding away David Robertson’s attempt from Thomson’s lay-off.

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U20s: Hamilton Accies 1-0 Dundee United

Written by Colette Carr.

AN Andy Ryan goal made the difference as ten men Dundee United lost out to Hamilton Accies in the SPFL U20s League.

Mark Millar saw red for two bookable offenses, and the home side grabbed all three points.

The hosts started the game as they would continue, causing trouble for United immediately.

The first ten saw Accies Eamonn Brophy send his effort from outside the box wide, Craig Watson's looping strike bounce off the crossbar off of a Ryan Finnie free-kick at the by-line, and Louis Longridge's hit cleared off the line.

It also involved Ryan fire over from 40 yards, and McShane failing to head away Longridge’s crosses twice.

Accies continued to press with a host of chances and on the 21st were awarded a free-kick out wide after a challenge by Millar which saw him go into the book, Scott McMann crossing it into a packed box for Brophy to head over.

Dundee finally found a break ten minutes before half time, Scott Smith blazing down the left wing to play in Reghian Tumilty in the middle who found Millar in the box, however he was denied by Blair Currie.

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U20s: Partick Thistle 1-0 Celtic - Neil Lennon frustrated at young guns

Written by Adam Henderson.

CELTIC coach John Kennedy admitted his side had received a wake-up call ahead of their youth Champions League clash with AC Milan.
 
A 12th minute goal from Caolan McAleer gave a hard-working Partick Thistle side the points at Firhill, in front of a watching Neil Lennon.
 
Neither Kennedy or Lennon were happy with their team's performance but the U20s coach believes it could be a blessing in disguise if it removes any complacency from the young Hoops.

Kennedy said: "Sometimes these things aren't all doom and gloom sometimes it's a wake-up call for the younger players. I certainly hope coming out of this match tonight we'll get a positive reaction.

"I said to the players it's an off-night but you can't afford to have too many of them when you're at a club like Celtic. From the level of performance we can usually produce that was way, way off.
 
"I hope it was just a blip. We played St. Johnstone last week, albeit with a slightly different team, and we were excellent. We never won the game but we couldn't fault the players' performance or attitude - everything about it.

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