June 19, 2018

Craig Gordon: We'll probably have to play even better in Slovenia

08 October 2017, 01:15 | Kristopher Drake

I love him – Rangers fans rave about Celtic player on Twitter after his international display

Scotland players celebrate as Martin Skrtel of Slovakia scores an own goal for their first goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group F Qualifier between Scotland and Slovakia at Hampden

Darren Fletcher is desperate to end years of heartache in a Scotland jersey by helping the national side reach the World Cup in Russian Federation next year.

Scotland threw everything at the Slovakia goal as they attempted to find the breakthrough, but Dubravka came to Slovakia's rescue again on 61 minutes when he made a fine save to keep out a fierce shot from Scotland forward Leigh Griffiths.

Ten years on, the pain of Christian Panucci's 90th-minute victor for Italy at Hampden on a night when victory for Scotland would have taken them to the Euro 2008 finals still haunts the Celtic goalkeeper.

That chance for Berra fell between Mak's two yellows.

Gordon Strachan's men are not, however, out of the woods just yet.

Scotland looked to make their man-advantage count, but, apart from a curling Griffiths attempt which was stopped by Dubravka, the hosts struggled to create clear-cut chances before the interval.

DARREN FLETCHER, Scotland captain, who suffered a nasty ear injury.

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Scotland must have thought their luck was out when Martin collected James Morrison's pass and saw his brilliant 25-yard effort cannon off the crossbar.

Scotland recorded a 1-0 win over Slovakia on Thursday night through an own goal from Martin Skrtel.

"It is a kind of similar pressure to the Slovakia game".

"Their goalkeeper was outstanding- the crossbar was not too bad either".

Funnily enough, Skrtel went onto score an own goal for Slovakia in the 88th minute, which means Gordan Strachan's need to win in Slovenia on Sunday to ensure second place. That was 1997, and the peak of the Craig Brown era, when Andy Goram and then Jim Leighton kept clean sheets for a stretch of seven Scotland matches in a row, a run which took us form the end of the Euro '96 finals to the guts of our successful World Cup 1998 qualifying campaign. Psychologically with them going down 10 men, we knew they would sit in and it would be down to us to break them down - but we did.

While Scotland's qualifying campaign got off to a dire start, now they could finish second in Group F if they defeat Slovenia on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Charlie Mulgrew has warned Scotland that Slovenia will be no pushovers.

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