Miller draws a blank on night of little Scottish inspiration
Lithuania 0 Scotland 0
Saturday 04 September 2010
Scotland failed to capitalise on territorial advantage in their Euro 2012 opener in Lithuania as Craig Levein's competitive debut as manager in Group I ended in stalemate in Kaunas.
The Scots applied some decent pressure in the closing stages but it was not to be their night. Levein, who had surprisingly preferred Steven Naismith ahead of James McFadden, had the Scots looking solid and comfortable in possession but they failed to find the breakthrough despite some decent opportunities.
Barry Robson forced several saves from long range, Kenny Miller headed straight at the goalkeeper from 12 yards and Steven Naismith lacked conviction when presented with a shooting chance on the edge of the penalty area. Robson had created a great chance for Miller four minutes after the break when he got away from his man and crossed with his right foot on to the unmarked Rangers striker's head, but he fluffed it.
Afterwards, Levein hit out at Lithuania's spoiling tactics and Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakira. "The biggest disappointment was, whenever we got any momentum, it was free-kick after free-kick," he said. "Guys in their team had five or six fouls and didn't get booked. It baffled me that they only ended up with three bookings. It was ridiculous. The challenge at the end on Alan Hutton was outrageous.
"I think it must have been a plan that whenever we got any momentum they gave away a foul. That's frustrating – [Scott] Brown got booked for his first foul. It was a tactic – there is not a lot we can do about it but it's important the referee looks after that side of the game."
The home side had shown their threat in flashes and goalkeeper Allan McGregor made the stop of the first half when he pushed away Saulius Mikoliunas's shot.
Scotland went close close in the 35th minute when Darren Fletcher whipped a free-kick to the back post, where Stephen McManus sent a first-time volley just past the far post from 12 yards.
Scotland McGregor; Hutton, Weir, McManus, Whittaker, McCulloch, Robson, D Fletcher, Brown, Naismith, Miller.
Latest in Sport
Brendan Rodgers future: Odds shorten on sack as Liverpool manager prepares to meet bosses in next 36 hours
Arsenal players boo chief-executive Ivan Gazidis after being told they would not get bonus for FA Cup triumph
Fifa corruption: Sepp Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke 'sent' $10m payment to Jack Warner in letter from the South African FA
Liverpool transfer news: James Milner nearing Anfield switch, but club baulk at £32.5m Christian Benteke release clause
Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 5 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk