Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Scots held as killer instinct goes missing

SoccerNews in European Championships 3 Sep 2010

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Scotland’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign began with a 0-0 draw against Lithuania on Friday, but Craig Levein’s side will be disappointed with the result after carving out the best chances.

Chances fell for Scott Brown and Kenny Miller before Allan McGregor saved well from a shot by former Hearts winger Saulius Mikoliunas and Stephen McManus was inches from volleying Scotland into the lead.

The Scots continued to press in the second-half with attempts by Miller and Steven Naismith, but they never really worried goalkeeper Zydrunas Karcemarkas and they will be looking for better when their Group I campaign continues at home to Liechtenstein on Tuesday.

Lee McCulloch was handed his first cap in nearly three years on Friday and was joined by five other Rangers teammates in the starting 11 including David Weir, who at 40 became the oldest player ever to represent Scotland.

Scotland made a solid start to the game and created a great chance in the eighth minute.

Steven Whittaker picked out Naismith in space down the left before sending in an inviting cross but Brown missed the ball as he attempted his shot from 10 yards out.

Miller’s shot on the spin from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection but it was well held by Karcemarkas as Scotland piled on the pressure.

However it was Lithuania who nearly took the lead in controversial circumstances.

The Scottish bench were furious when Weir appeared to be fouled by Saulius Mikoliunas moments before the home player unleashed a fierce strike from just inside the box which produced a fine save from McGregor.

Barry Robson didn’t really test Karcemarkas with a couple of free-kicks before forcing the keeper to save low to his right with a decent dipping strike from 25 yards.

Scotland’s best chance in an encouraging first-half came in the 35th minute when Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher floated a free-kick to the back post where McManus was unlucky to see his volley across goal fly just wide.

Miller should have done better just after the break when Robson raced down the right and picked out the unmarked Rangers striker in the box but he couldn’t direct his header away from Karcemarkas.

Tottenham full-back Alan Hutton’s cross was met by Naismith at the edge of the box but his side-footed effort lacked power and direction as Scotland continued to create chances.

The Scots had to be alert at the other end when Tomas Danilevicius rounded McGregor but Whittaker was there to clear the danger.

Levein threw on James McFadden and James Morrison to introduce some pace to the game as the Lithuanians began to tire.

West Bromwich Albion player Morrison made an instant impact when he found Naismith in the box but the forward dithered too much on the ball and the chance was lost.

Whittaker’s cross was met by Miller ten yards out but he got too much pace on his header which flew over the bar as Scotland couldn’t find that elusive goal.

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