Miller draws a blank on night of little Scottish inspiration - International - Football - The Independent

Miller draws a blank on night of little Scottish inspiration

Lithuania 0 Scotland 0

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.

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