Scotland up to third in Euro 2020 qualifying group as Ryan Christie and John McGinn score against Cyprus

16 Nov

Scotland leapfrogged Cyprus in Euro 2020 qualifying Group I with a 2-1 win on Saturday.

Steve Clarke’s side cannot finish in the top two to automatically qualify for next summer’s tournament but are making a strong finish.

Ryan Christie and John McGinn scored either side of Georgios Efrem’s strike on their way to victory.

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Steve Clarke’s Scotland side moved up to third in their Euro 2020 qualifying group[/caption]

Motherwell centre-back Declan Gallagher was handed his international debut in Scotland’s penultimate Euro 2020 qualifying group game in Cyprus.

Gallagher started alongside Scott McKenna and full-backs Liam Palmer and Greg Taylor in the back four in Nicosia.

Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack was selected for his competitive debut, with Steven Naismith handed the captaincy for his 50th Scotland appearance in the centre-forward role.

Scotland survived an early scare and had some good fortune when Georgios Efrem’s shot appeared to bounce down over the line after striking the crossbar.


However, with no VAR in use in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, a goal was not given. Television replays suggested that had the system been available, Cyprus would have opened the scoring.

Scotland made the most of their stroke of luck by taking the lead after 12 minutes.

Ryan Christie collected the ball out on the right and cut infield towards the penalty area, before curling a superb effort into the far corner of the net from 22 yards out.

Christie’s strike remained the difference between the two sides at half-time in Nicosia as Scotland went into the break 1-0 in front.

Controversially denied a goal in the first half, there was no doubt about Efrem’s strike at the beginning of the second half that brought the hosts level.

John McGinn scored Scotland’s second against Cyprus
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Grigoris Kastanos’ free-kick into the penalty area was headed away by Gallagher but only as far as the APOEL forward, who struck a first-time volley into the top corner of the net.

Cyprus were not level for long as John McGinn, who scored a hat-trick against San Marino, added another goal to his tally to restore Scotland’s lead after 53 minutes.

Good build-up play down the left involving James Forrest and Greg Taylor saw the latter pick out McGinn inside the penalty area and the Aston Villa midfielder guided his half-volley home from 10 yards out.

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