In what will long be remembered as a qualifying classic on Tuesday night, Scotland stunned former world champions Spain as they claimed a 2-0 victory at Hampden.
Now securing back-to-back Group A wins after opening their qualifying adventure with a 3-0 romp against Cyprus, the Tartan Army have enjoyed a famous few days in Glasgow.
Taking just seven minutes to open the scoring as Scott McTominay sent the Hampden crowd into overdrive, it was the Manchester United ace who eventually completed Scotland’s heroics with a remarkable brace.
Producing a thunderous strike just six minutes after returning from the half-time break, Steve Clarke’s side has certainly written themselves into Scottish folklore.
Ending the first round of qualifying fixtures sat at the top of the Group A table, Tuesday’s hosts also handed Spain a major dose of reality.
Although the European giants might have traveled to Glasgow looking to make their own qualifying statement, Spain’s new-look squad showed many of the same issues that have haunted them over recent times.
Putting in a famous performance on home soil and collecting a heavyweight European scalp, what did we learn as Scotland stunned La Roja on Tuesday night?
Scotland make a heavyweight qualifying statement
Although Scotland might have failed to punch their World Cup ticket over the winter, Clarke’s side have only continued to gain a string of plaudits since their heartbreak at Hampden heartbreak 10 months ago.
Enjoying a stellar Nations League flurry last year as they secured a League B promotion, the ex-Kilmarnock boss finds the mood in his camp at a red-hot high.
While the Tartan Army might have failed to pull up any trees during their European Championship campaign two years ago, Scotland are desperate to write that wrong in 2024.
Getting their qualifying adventure underway over the weekend as they breezed their way to a 3-0 romp at home against Cyprus, the midweek hosts certainly made a crucial statement here.
Signing off the March international break sat at the top of the Group A standings and making a major qualifying statement in Glasgow, Clarke’s high-flying squad will know that their destiny remains firmly in their own hands.
Losing just one of their last eight competitive appearances across all competitions, Scotland will simply be looking to keep up their recent charge when they travel to Norway on June 17th.
McTominay shows why he is in such high demand
While Tuesday’s display in Glasgow might be long remembered as one of Scotland’s most iconic in recent memory, it will be their midfield star who will steal all of the headlines here.
Coming off the bench over the weekend and bagging a quickfire brace as Clarke’s side opened their Group A adventure with a 3-0 romp against Cyprus, McTominay has certainly cemented his spot as one of Scotland’s key men.
Making a famous full return at Hampden and bagging back-to-back qualifying braces over the past few days, it is no surprise why the 26-year-old is in such high demand.
While McTominay might have only continued on a remarkable international flurry when away with the Tartan Army, there remains plenty of speculation that United’s homegrown star could be on his way out of Old Trafford this summer.
Falling down Erik ten Hag’s midfield pecking order and not making a single Premier League star since back on January 22nd, it has been reported that a string of top-flight clubs are keeping tabs on McTominay’s situation.
Spain are enduring another major transition
Although Spain might have opened Luis de la Fuente’s tenure in charge with a routine 3-0 victory at home against Norway, La Roja were back to their inconsistent worst here.
With many left shocked earlier in the year as the 61-year-old was appointed as the man to replace Luis Enrique, the European icons appear a million miles off mounting a genuine charge for a piece of international silverware.
Almost going with a completely new-look squad this month and with the likes of Barcelona talisman Gavi forced to settle for a spot on the bench in Glasgow, Spain’s inexperienced side will know that they face a huge backlash when they return home.
Shockingly failing to reach past the World Cup’s round of 16 over the winter as they fell to a penalties defeat against Morocco, Tuesday’s guests will be desperate to avoid a major qualifying collapse in 2023.
While La Roja might still be tipped as a runaway pick to punch an automatic ticket to Germany for next year, Spain’s new boss will know that he must offer the former European champions some much-needed stability.
Scotland: Gunn, Porteous, Hanley, Tierney, Hickey, McTominay, McGregor, Robertson, McGinn, Dykes, Christie
Subs: Shankland, Patterson, McLean, Cooper, Ferguson
Spain: Kepa, Porro, Garcia, Martinez, Gaya, Ceballos, Rodri, Merino, Oyarzabal, Joselu, Pino
Subs: Aspas, Iglesias, Gavi, Williams, Carvajal
Goals: McTominay (7′, 51′)
Yellow Cards: Scotland: Gunn, McTominay, Robertson, Dykes – Spain: Carvajal, Aspas
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Sandro Scharer
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