Dire draw for Scotland

Scotland’s international against Canada did not go to plan as Gordon Strachan’s side had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Easter Road.

In what was a warm-up fixture for the make-or break World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at Hampden Park on Sunday, the Scots were stunned when Falkirk midfielder Fraser Aird fired Canada into the lead in the 10th minute following a mix-up in the home defence.

Forward Steven Naismith levelled in the 34th minute when he turned a wayward shot by debutant Tom Cairney into the net but the visitors, ranked 117th in the world, held out with a degree of comfort while posing problems of their own.

It was a dispiriting result for Scotland who will have to find a performance from somewhere against the Slovenians if they are to keep alive their hopes of reaching Russia next summer, as they go into the contest with four points from four games.

Strachan did not field his strongest team but Fulham midfielder Cairney was the only new face in a side which had right-back Ikechi Anya winning his 25th cap. Charlie Mulgrew returned to partner Christophe Berra in the centre of defence with Chris Martin leading the line.

Familiar faces in the Canada side included Aird and former Falkirk midfielder Scott Arfield, now at Burnley.

The poor crowd on a freezing, wet night revealed the lack of appetite for the fixture but those Tartan Army members who did show up were rocked when the visitors took the lead.

Left-back Lee Wallace and Mulgrew failed to deal with a Maxim Tissot cross from the left and when the ball fell kindly to Aird the former Rangers player dispatched his shot from 12 yards past Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

Moments later, amid the stunned silence of the Tartan Army, Scotland attacker Robert Snodgrass’ hopeful cross into the box evaded everybody and came off a post.

Canada keeper Simon Thomas blocked a close-range shot from Martin after Scotland had played their way behind the increasingly confident visiting defence.

But there was almost more trouble for the hosts in the 26th minute when Aird drifted easily into the Scotland penalty area – this time his left-footed shot from 14 yards went wide – before a Simeon Jackson effort was deflected over for a corner which came to nothing.

Scotland picked up the pace. Midfielder Oliver Burke blasted a shot straight at Thomas in the 31st minute and three minutes later they levelled, when Naismith redirected a drive from Cairney over the line from 12 yards to cheers of some relief from the home fans.

If the Scots thought they had gained control they were disabused of that notion two minutes from the break when another dangerous Canada attack ended with Marco Bustos curling a shot from the edge of the box narrowly wide.

Canada replaced keeper Thomas with Jayson Leutwiler of Shrewsbury for the start of the second half while Barry Bannan and Andrew Robertson came on for Burke and Wallace.

Cairney looked the part in the Scotland engine room as the home side went left, right and down the middle in search of some joy.

Leutwiler made a decent save from Bannan, who fired the rebound over, before Strachan turned to strikers Leigh Griffiths and Jordan Rhodes just after the hour mark.

Scotland explored a more direct route as the second-half progressed but with no more success.

Hibs player John McGinn was given a rousing cheer when he replaced Cairney, before McGregor tipped a powerful Aird drive over the bar for a corner which posed no danger to the Hull keeper.

Scotland kept pushing and Rhodes missed a chance in stoppage time when he failed to convert Griffiths’ cut back and some boos accompanied the final whistle.

Scotland’s international against Canada did not go to plan as Gordon Strachan’s side had to come from behind to draw 1-1 at Easter Road.

In what was a warm-up fixture for the make-or break World Cup qualifier against Slovenia at Hampden Park on Sunday, the Scots were stunned when Falkirk midfielder Fraser Aird fired Canada into the lead in the 10th minute following a mix-up in the home defence.

Forward Steven Naismith levelled in the 34th minute when he turned a wayward shot by debutant Tom Cairney into the net but the visitors, ranked 117th in the world, held out with a degree of comfort while posing problems of their own.

It was a dispiriting result for Scotland who will have to find a performance from somewhere against the Slovenians if they are to keep alive their hopes of reaching Russia next summer, as they go into the contest with four points from four games.

Strachan did not field his strongest team but Fulham midfielder Cairney was the only new face in a side which had right-back Ikechi Anya winning his 25th cap. Charlie Mulgrew returned to partner Christophe Berra in the centre of defence with Chris Martin leading the line.

Familiar faces in the Canada side included Aird and former Falkirk midfielder Scott Arfield, now at Burnley.

The poor crowd on a freezing, wet night revealed the lack of appetite for the fixture but those Tartan Army members who did show up were rocked when the visitors took the lead.

Left-back Lee Wallace and Mulgrew failed to deal with a Maxim Tissot cross from the left and when the ball fell kindly to Aird the former Rangers player dispatched his shot from 12 yards past Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

Moments later, amid the stunned silence of the Tartan Army, Scotland attacker Robert Snodgrass’ hopeful cross into the box evaded everybody and came off a post.

Canada keeper Simon Thomas blocked a close-range shot from Martin after Scotland had played their way behind the increasingly confident visiting defence.

But there was almost more trouble for the hosts in the 26th minute when Aird drifted easily into the Scotland penalty area – this time his left-footed shot from 14 yards went wide – before a Simeon Jackson effort was deflected over for a corner which came to nothing.

Scotland picked up the pace. Midfielder Oliver Burke blasted a shot straight at Thomas in the 31st minute and three minutes later they levelled, when Naismith redirected a drive from Cairney over the line from 12 yards to cheers of some relief from the home fans.

If the Scots thought they had gained control they were disabused of that notion two minutes from the break when another dangerous Canada attack ended with Marco Bustos curling a shot from the edge of the box narrowly wide.

Canada replaced keeper Thomas with Jayson Leutwiler of Shrewsbury for the start of the second half while Barry Bannan and Andrew Robertson came on for Burke and Wallace.

Cairney looked the part in the Scotland engine room as the home side went left, right and down the middle in search of some joy.

Leutwiler made a decent save from Bannan, who fired the rebound over, before Strachan turned to strikers Leigh Griffiths and Jordan Rhodes just after the hour mark.

Scotland explored a more direct route as the second-half progressed but with no more success.

Hibs player John McGinn was given a rousing cheer when he replaced Cairney, before McGregor tipped a powerful Aird drive over the bar for a corner which posed no danger to the Hull keeper.

Scotland kept pushing and Rhodes missed a chance in stoppage time when he failed to convert Griffiths’ cut back and some boos accompanied the final whistle.