Scotland 1 France 0: Caldwell eclipses Henry's sun kings

Celtic midfielder's blazing finish kicks off the celebrations as Scotland dream again

Gary Caldwell stole Thierry Henry's thunder yesterday as Scotland produced the most remarkable turnaround to stun France here and seize leadership of the Euro 2008 qualifying group B campaign. It was the Celtic defender, not his much vaunted opponent, who struck the decisive goal with a searing 67th-minute finish to inflict defeat upon the side that was just a penalty kick away from being crowned world champions three months ago.

France's first-half dominance had evaporated in the second half in the face of Scotland's vigour. Henry had one chance to restore parity but a weak 87th-minute header was saved by Craig Gordon to signal a massive party from the Scotland fans as France were mugged, just as they were on their last visit here 17 years ago.

Caldwell was euphoric. "It is an unbelievable result," he said. "One of the best ever for Scotland." His coach was effusive about the resolute rearguard effort. "We knew France would have a lot of possession in the first half but we handled them very well," said Walter Smith.

The anticipation which had gripped Scotland for the last month over this game had been remarkable. What was initially an occasion to gawp at the talents of Henry took on a different complexion when the Scots matched the French in winning their opening two games to top Group B ahead of Raymond Domenech's side.

France had not lost a qualifying game of any sort since 1992, though the older vintage of Les Bleus do not recall Glasgow with fondness. A side coached by the legendary Michel Platini succumbed to a storming Scotland performance in 1989 that sent Andy Roxburgh's team to the World Cup finals in Italy.

The one element which had aged well was the atmosphere. The Scotland fans gave raucous backing to Smith's players and James McFadden almost rewarded them after just four minutes when he audaciously burst between Willy Sagnol and Lilian Thuram before robbing the latter on the byline. Scotland's lone striker drifted inside but his netbound shot struck Paul Hartley.

That was a false dawn. France dominated the next 30 minutes as their crisp passing had Scotland chasing white shadows. Henry's surge towards the box in the 12th minute drew a foul from Caldwell, allowing the Arsenal striker to conjure up a free-kick that arced beyond Craig Gordon's leap but crashed back off the post. Gordon had the measure of another Henry free-kick and then Patrick Vieira and David Trezeguet both had the ball in the net within four minutes of each other, with a header and overhead kick, but they were rightly ruled offside.

Such was Scotland's submissiveness that they did not summon up another effort on target until nine minutes before half-time. The Scots seemed happy to trace the same pattern of resistance in the second half apart from one moment when McFadden had the crowd on its feet early on as he chased a clever pass over the top of the French defence. Sadly, with just Grégory Coupet to beat, McFadden slashed his shot wide.

However, around the hour mark, Scotland's hunger to get forward sparked a collective sense of belief that they could snatch control. Hartley's 65th-minute corner was met by David Weir, the ball broke back to the midfielder and his shot was deflected wide by Eric Abidal.

That allowed Hartley to fashion the moment that saw Hampden explode. The Hearts player this time delivered his corner to the back of the box. It was met by the left boot of Caldwell, who outmuscled Vieira to thump a fierce shot past Coupet from eight yards.

The famous stadium was in a state of delirium. Gary Teale almost scored only for Coupet to deny his shot. After that, Hampden willed its side towards the finishing line, with Abidal making one great intervention to deny Hartley's run.

News
Howard Marks has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he has announced
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
Rowan Atkinson at the wheel of his McLaren F1 GTR sports car
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us