Late McArthur header spares Scotland blushes

James McArthur headed an equaliser a minute from time to earn Scotland a point against Lithuania in their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifier at Hampden Park on Saturday.

  • Scotland 1 Lithuania 1
  • Poor first half ends goalless
  • Cernych opens the scoring for the away side
  • Second half sub MccArthur heads home late eqauliser

Match summary 

A 89th minute James McArthur header saved Scotland from an embarrassing loss at Hampden Park after a poor performance for much of the match.

The late goal broke the hearts of the spirited Lithuanian side who thought their well-worked goal from Fiodor Cernych on the hour mark would give them an historic win away from home.

Full report

The opening 25 minutes of the game was a drab affair with lone striker Chris Martin barely getting a sniff of the ball up front, as Robert Snodgrass and co. failed to create any goal scoring opportunities for the target man.

It was a case of direct football from both sides with no real goal scoring action – the only noteworthy chance was winger Oliver Burke's direct running that nearly gave the home side a penalty before the break.

German referee Tobias Stieler waved play on, however, and at the half-time whistle, a crescendo a boo's rippled around the stadium with the home support clearly unhappy with their side's showing.

The second half seemed to be more lively as the Scots picked up the tempo of the fixture with Andrew Robertson and Snodgrass going close with two efforts in quick succession.

The attacking intent lifted the spirits of the crowd and that led to another chance moments later with Martin heading just wide from Robertson pin-point cross.

However, the mood soon changed when manager Gordon Strachan pulled off the lively Burke for James Forrest and the away side took the lead shortly after on the hour mark. Having offered little going forward they opened the scoring with a one-touch passing move that ended with forward Fiodor Cernych firing home from inside the area – a significant moment that completely silenced the crowd.

Forest then looked to find a quick equaliser but his first-time effort a minute later fizzed just wide of Lithuania keeper Setkus' post.

Both sides returned to a more direct style of football as the game became scrappy, and Cernych had another chance but his shot flashed just wide of Marshall post.

As the game looked to be heading to a historic win for the European minnows, second half substitute McArthur popped up with a equaliser – a header from close range.

With five minutes added on after the 89th minute goal – the home side rallied forward looking for the winner and they nearly found it.

Chris Martin's header looked to be drifting into the net but Lithuania somehow scrambled it clear and held on for a precious point away from home.

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