WINNING IS EVERYTHING BY PETER MARTIN
Scotland 1-0 Denmark
(Matt Ritchie 7mins)
Winning is everything.
We might not have deserved it against the Danes but, who cares?
After nine failed attempts to get to any major tournament, there can be no more talk of statistics on posession, passes complete, shots on target.
The only thing that matters is scoring one more goal than your opponents, to use an old Johan Cruyff classic line, and Matt Ritchie helped us do just that.
Winning is also all that matters to Gordon Strachan, the style can come later and he’ll be the first one to tell you that.
Two wins in a week by a single goal, a mix of luck and some good goalkeeping just about sums it up for Scotland.
What have we learned from tonight’s win?
John McGinn is having an unbelievable season and continues to amaze and impress everyone.
He has an engine that never seems to run slow and he also showed everyone tonight that he’s more than capable of forcing his way into Gordon’s long term qualification plans.
The only downside here is for Hibernian. Short term they have a top drawer midfielder in their ranks but, for how long before someone poaches him?
Elsewhere on the park, Kieran Tierney, like McGinn, proved if you are good enough, you are old enough. The young Celtic full-back did himself no harm with his forty-five minutes.
Craig Gordon made some terrific saves and, like Allan McGregor against the Czech Republic, highlighted the quality we have in abundance between the sticks with three top class shot-stoppers.
I wish we had the same selection options in three positions in the back four.
We don’t have an abundance of quality in defence and I still feel that could be our undoing in the world cup qualifiers this coming year. I hope I’m wrong.
We capitalised on a defensive blunder between Daniel Agger and Kasper Schmeichel to take the lead after seven minutes through Ritchie and there were more than a few blunders after that to explain why Denmark failed to qualify for Euro 2016 too.
However, as the game wore on, they had more possession but couldn’t get the breakthrough, down to some sloppy finishing and some good goalkeeping from Gordon.
We were also lucky that the referee Svein Oddvar Moen decided against sending Liam Bridcutt off for a reckless challenge on Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko. It should have been a red card.
That said, we won and in the end that is all that matters.
If we can gather a little bit more momentum and positive results against France and Italy in the next two friendlies, we might have considerably more than the 18,300 fans that braved the wind and rain to watch tonight’s slender, if fortunate, win.
It is a win and that’s all that matters.