Scotland 6 Faroe Islands 0: Boyd's steel breaks curse of the Faroes

Striker lays to rest the ghost of past campaigns
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The Independent Football

Were you watching, Robbie Williams? Your boys handed out a hell of a beating. Scotland moved out of Hampden Park to allow the singer to stage his concert there last night and shone here as they delivered an impressive opening number in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

With 12 games in group B, including Italy and France to come, Scotland embraced a successful start as they thrashed the Faroe Islands. Kris Boyd helped himself to two goals but the fishermen from the North Atlantic were simply out of their depth and can only fear the worst for their meetings with the world champions and runners-up.

Scotland's coach, Walter Smith, was pleased with the afternoon's work, saying: "The Faroes have caused problems for quite a number of countries, including bigger European nations who have not found it easy to score against them. All my strikers managed to score and I am delighted. It keeps the confidence going."

The Faroes had previously been a source of some embarrassment to Scotland, holding them to draws on two visits to that outcrop. The ignominious day fell exactly four years earlier when Scotland, in the care of Berti Vogts, had to scramble from 2-0 down to rescue a point.

The islanders may be rated 169th in the world but Scotland still needed to exorcise those ghosts from the past. Two goals inside the first 10 minutes did exactly that. The breakthrough came after just seven minutes when Fletcher arrived with perfect timing at the back post to finish off impressive work by Kenny Miller.

Three minutes later, James McFadden produced a sublime finish. Again Miller was the creator, producing a clever turn. Atli Danielsen stuck in a foot, but only succeeded in knocking it towards McFadden, who stroked a composed left-foot pass beyond Mikkelsen.

Scotland killed the contest after 24 minutes. McFadden was awarded a penalty as he hurdled Christian Jacobsen to reach Gary Naysmith's pass. The Everton striker clearly dived but any satisfaction was stripped away when Boyd wrestled the ball from him and the Rangers forward - fourth in the queue in Walter Smith's list of penalty-takers - squeezed his kick past Mikkelsen. In the ensuing celebrations, McFadden angrily refused to join in.

Six minutes later, Scotland were given another penalty and there was no doubt about this one. Fletcher insisted that this time Miller be allowed to try his luck and took the ball from Boyd. The Celtic striker broke his duck for the season - albeit with fortune - as his right-foot penalty went under Mikkelsen's body.

However, Boyd's hunger for goals ensured that Scotland scored a fifth after 38 minutes. The striker does his best work when playing on the shoulder of his marker and he peeled away to gather a pass from Fletcher and advance into the box. Mikkelsen parried Boyd's shot but could not stop the Scot from pouncing on the rebound.

Scotland were on course for their biggest win since the 8-0 European Championship rout of Cyprus but the tempo dropped in the second half as the Faroes dragged 10 men behind the ball. Yet they could not stem the tide and Mikkelsen's wretched day was completed by gifting a sixth goal five minutes from the end. McFadden drilled a ball across the box and O'Connor diverted it towards goal, where Mikkelsen let it through his hands.

If you believe the Faroes coach Jogvan Martin Olsen, this dominant performance has heralded a new dawn for the lion rampant. "This is a very exciting Scotland for the future," he said.

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