Belfast Telegraph

Scotland shocked but hit back to rout Gibraltar

Scotland 6 - Gibraltar 1

By Ronnie Esplin

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan admitted Gibraltar made his life a "misery" after shocking the hosts with their first ever competitive goal at Hampden.

The minnows left a 34,255-strong crowd in stunned silence as Lee Casciaro cancelled out Shaun Malloney's spot-kick opener just a minute after he had put the Dark Blues ahead.

It was everything UEFA's newest member nation deserved as they bravely pushed forward against Strachan's ultra-attacking 3-2-5 line-up.

Thankfully for the Scots, though, Steven Fletcher went on to complete the first hat-trick by a Dark Blues player in 46 years as another Maloney penalty plus Steven Naismith's strike earned them a 6-1 triumph.

But it will remain a special day for Gibraltar. Only given the green light to take part in international competition three years ago, they had failed to find the net in their first four Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Casciaro will now take his place in the record books - and as Strachan pointed out, so will the man he beat.

He said: "All the credit should really go to Gibraltar. They made my life a misery for periods of that game. Allan McGregor and Craig Gordon now love me for not picking them. They are not in the history books.

"Unfortunately David Marshall has got his name against that forever now and he will be in quiz questions everywhere.

"I got a wee fright when they scored. It was partly down to us though. We spent all week working on attacking width. We fell asleep, taking it for granted that they would not attack and they did.

"We were caught walking out when we should have been walking back the way.

"So that made it an interesting couple of minutes."

Maloney put the Scots ahead from 12-yards after keeper Jamie Robba brought him down after 17 minutes. But Gibraltar hit back with a stunning counter move that saw Casciaro calmly steer past Marshall.

Fletcher calmed fraying tartan nerves when he headed his side back in front before Maloney again netted with a penalty.

Naismith gave the hosts a three-goal cushion at the break, while Fletcher then became the first Scot since Colin Stein in 1969 to net a treble on international duty with two late strikes.

The victory keeps the Strachan's side in the hunt for next year's finals in France with 10 points from five games.

"I should also say well done to the players, because there were guys who personally weren't having a great game but they stuck at it," added Strachan.

Belfast Telegraph