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Morale boosting win for Scots over Poland ahead of EURO 2016 qualifiers

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Scotland secured a morale boosting 1-0 win over EURO 2016 qualifying opponents Poland, thanks to a solitary strike from captain Scott Brown.

The midfielder struck on 77 minutes pouncing on the edge of the Polish 18 yard box, before sending a thunderous strike past Wojciech Szczesny to give Strachan’s men a credible victory over their hosts.

The win was Scotland’s fourth win in a row and their first over Poland since 1958.

Poland had the best of the first half action, but rarely threatened David Marshall in the Scotland goal. The Cardiff shotstopper made two saves from long-range shots, the first when he tipped over Ludovic Obraniak’s curling effort and later pushed wide an effort from Milik 28 yards out.

Scotland’s first chance to threaten Wojciech Szczesny’s goal came in the final minutes of the half,

Scotland created their first chance in the closing seconds of the half when Brown committed a defender in the box and played Hutton in through the right channel. The right-back had three team-mates closing in on goal but could not find a pass and elected to shoot from a tight angle, but Szczesny blocked at his near post.

The Poles started off the second half as they had done for much of the first half, pressing the Scottish backline. First Piszczek volleyed over from a cross by Obraniak, before Slawomir Paszko fired a shot straight at Marshall.

Scotland’s best chance of breaking the deadlock fell to Ross McCormack from 18 yards out after a cut back from Steven Naismith, but the Leeds United forward could only look on as a desperate lunge by Piszczek blocked the shot and deflected it wide.

Poland really should have taken the lead on the 58th minute, after Alan Hutton recklessly brought down Peszko in a dangerous area. From Obraniak’s resulting free kick, Glik rose the heighest in the Scotland box,but the defender’s powerful header went a yard wide of the Scotland goal as the home supporters thought he had scored.

With Poland looking the more likely side to score, Strachan brought on Dundee United youngster Andrew Robertson, Charlie Adam and Phil Bardsley, along with switching the side to one up front.

That change in personal gave Scotland the fresh blood they needed and Strachan’s side took the lead on 77 minutes.

Steven Naismith held up the ball after a throw-in, long enough to lay it off to the ever impressive Ikechi Anya whose cross found Charlie Adam who headed towards goal. The Polish defence did enough to clear the danger, but only as far as Scott Brown who ran onto the ball at the edge of the 18 yard box, before he drove a powerful shot past Szczesny in the Polish goal.

Despite going a goal down, the Poles continued to press forward once more looking for an equaliser, but two injury time saves by David Marshall denied Michal Maslowski and Lukasz Teodorczyk.

As the final whistle sounded, the home supporters jeered and booed their side off the pitch as the Tartan Army and the Scotland players celebrated.

Speaking after the match Steven Naismith commented that the game was a ‘very good test’ against a ‘very good team’.

While Wednesday night’s game will provide Gordon Strachan with some insight, Poland were missing several of their top players including Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski. If Strachan can take anything from the match it will be the boost the fans and the players got from another win on the road, ahead of the EURO 2016 qualifiers.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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