Saturday, September 5, 2009

Scotland started today's World Cup qualifier at home to Macedonia on a life support machine. They ended it in intensive care and still critical, but at least their survival hopes are still alive.

It was a nervy afternoon at Hampden and Macedonia came out all guns blazing but found Craig Gordon on top form in the Scottish goals and dealing with everything that was thrown at him.

Nerves had seemed to be getting the better of the occasion from a Scottish point of view. Even the famous Hampden roar was a bit subdued but the turning point of the match came as half time approached when Scott Brown contested a drop ball and hit it off a Macedonia player for a corner.

The Macedonians were furious but Brown was right to do it. If only more people contested these decisions these days then the game would be better for it.

In this case, our game was better for it. The incident brought the fans to life, the players to life, the roar returned and Scotland came out with a stirring second half display full of fight and passion.

This campaign has been blighted by some less than fired up displays from the Scottish team but you certainly couldn't fault them for their second half performance this afternoon.

It was still nervy after Scott Brown put us ahead after 56 minutes and after some close things at both ends, the Tartan Army could stop biting their nails when the talismanic James McFadden secured the three points with nine minutes remaining.

The victory, and performance, was just what we were needing at this low time in Scottish football. We've still given ourselves a chance at making the playoffs but it's not going to be easy.

We have to beat Holland at Hampden on Wednesday. The Dutch are unbeaten in the qualifiers and are FIFA's third best ranked team in the world at the moment. So an easy evening at the office in store! A draw may still give us second place in the group but probably won't be good enough to get into the playoffs (more on that in tomorrow's blog).

There's still a lot to do, but at least for a small moment this evening, Scotland fans can feel proud of their team once again.

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