Just when it had all seemed to be going so well for the Home Nations in European Championship qualifying... Scotland became the first side to ever concede a competitive goal to Gibraltar.
The expansion of the European Championships for next year’s tournament in France to 24 teams has given the likes of Scotland and Wales more hope than ever of making a first major tournament in years. The top two in each of the nine groups join France in the finals, along with the best third-placed team. The eight remaining sides then play-off for the final four spots.
With England sailing through Group E, Wales top of their table and the Republic and Northern Ireland also beginning well, Scotland had joined the Home Nations jamboree, losing just one of their opening four matches and impressing against Germany and Poland.
Gilbraltar, meanwhile had lost all four of their group matches prior to today, in their first ever qualification campaign since being granted Uefa status in May 2013. Their only three goals have come in friendlies, against Estonia, Malta and the Faroe Islands. The newcomers conceded 14 in their opening two matches – going down 7-0 at ‘home’ to Poland (in a match held in Faro, in Portugal) – and by the same score away to Ireland last October. Minor improvements meant they ‘only’ lost by three against Georgia and four against world champions Germany in their following two matches. And then came Scotland.
After a shaky beginning on Sunday afternoon, Gordon Strachan’s side edged ahead through a fortunate penalty, Shaun Maloney finding the net after winning the spot-kick after a challenge from Jamie Robba. Just two minutes later, Scottish supporters were silenced AS Lee Casciaro, a 33-year-old forward from the Lincoln Red Imps – and part-time policeman -, raced through a static home backline to drill a fine shot across David Marshall. Maloney, again from the spot, and Stevens Fletcher and Naismith quickly had Scotland well in command by the break, but the headlines had already been stolen. Amongst others, Casciaro joins his brother, Kyle, as Gilbraltar’s leading scorer, on one goal.Reuse content