‘PLEASE stick around’ urged the tannoy announcer after the final whistle.
Like the Tartanwould rather have been anywhere else!
AFPJohn McGinn levelled the game early doors[/caption]
Kenny RamsayThe Aston Villa captain linked up well with Stuart Armstrong for the third[/caption]
‘No, no party’ screamed a sell-out crowd at Hampden as Steve Clarke and his side were given the send-off to they deserved.
Okay, the campaign didn’t end with the victory over Norway we all hoped for.
But the hardwas done long ago and the lap of honour after this 3-3 draw one they earned.
The fans applauded the team and the team applauded the fans in a tremendousof togetherness.
Scotland fell behind twice in the first-half before battling back to take the lead.
Stuart Armstrong looked like he’d scored the winner with a second-half .
But former CelticMohammed Elyounoussi snatched a draw for Norway with an equaliser with only four minutes remaining.
That still didn’t ruin the night for the Tartan Army.
It almost felt a bit too good to be true before kick-off.
The feelgood factor in and around Hampden was off the charts.
The 49,000 crowd didn’t turn up with any fear or trepidation.
There was no worry on any faces, just wide smiles and anticipation.
The SFA did a greatwhipping up the excitement levels too as the teams came striding out.
The floodlights flashed like disco lights with the Tartan Army’s adoptedtrack ‘Freed from Desire’ booming out of the stadium sound system.
Before that, as the players were warming up, there had beenclips of the big scored throughout the campaign.
Maybe ramming the two late, late Oslo Lyndon Dykes and Kenny McLean down the throats of the Norwegians wasn’t the brightest idea.from
Because if last night’s guests needed any encouragement then that was it, shown in HD on the huge mega-screens.
Stale Solbakken’s side were always going to be determined to spoil the, though, weren’t they?
Along with Erling Haaland, Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard missed this game through.
GettyThe visitors started strong even without their star duo[/caption]
But after thedefeat he made it clear he felt Norway were a better team that Scotland. And you really got the impression his team-mates wanted to show that.
Clarke, though, had a team ofwho had other ideas as they played with a grit and determination to PROVE the right team is heading to summer.
In fairness, the carefree attitude both sets of players helped make this an end-to-end game ofyou couldn’t take you eyes off for a split second.
It was 2-2 at the break and from a Scotland point of view the goals conceded weren’t great.
Aron Donnum gave Norway the lead after just three minutes and the defending wouldn’t have impressed Clarke.
The goal silenced the Callum McGregor had a shot blocked by the the same guy who scored the opener.crowd until McGinn levelled from the penalty spot, after
But soon Norway were back in front to dampen the atmosphere a second time.
Zander Clark was beaten from point-blank range after the ball took an awkward deflection.
When it came to Scotland’s second equaliser, it was Norway cursing their luck.
McLean did well to flick on a corner from Stuart Armstrong with his header hitting defenderOstigaard on its way into the back of the net.
Even then Norway could have taken the lead a third time before the break.
made a tremendous block to stop Donnum from scoring again.
All told, there was a lot that happened in that first-half that would have worried Clarke.
Norway lookedevery time they got forward – Man City’s Bobb in particular causing us all sorts of problems down their right flank.
It was a fairly unfamiliar line-up, remember.
Kenny RamsaySteve Clarke’s men will be in Pot Three for next month’s draw[/caption]
Clarke want with a back four withand his two centre-backs and they’ve both played better for their country.
Jacob Brown was picked to lead the line ahead of Lawrence Shankland, which was surprising after his last gasp heroics in Georgia last Thursday night, and the Luton frontman found it tough going.
You also wondered if Clarke would take the opportunity to throw Bologna’s on-form Lewis Ferguson in from the start. But as usual he had to settle for a place on the bench.
The Scotland boss started looking at the scoreboard clock when it showed 57 minutes, clearly thinking about making a change or two.
But before he could get any of his substitutes stripped, Armstrong fired the team in front with a tremendous goal.
Brown missed a sitter when a great ball was fizzed across the face of goal and he failed to get a touch.
But when it looked like going out for a throw-in down near the corner flag Armstrong had other ideas.
He showed a real desire tothe ball and create something out of nothing, combining with McGinn before calmly finding the net at the near .
It was as cool as could be.
Norway had moments when they could have made it 3-3 with Clark making a cracking save in 80 minutes to keep out a header from.
But the Jambos keeper was soon beaten a third time when he lost theif a cross to his back post with Elyounoussi free to score.
Soon, though, it was party time again as Clarke and his heroes were saluted on their way around the pitch.
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