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CELTIC STAR’S SCOTLAND BREAKTHROUGH, GRATEFUL McGINN

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IT was a case of ‘Ten and IN’ for Celtic playmaker Ryan Christie in Scotland’s 2-1 Euro 2020 triumph over Cyprus in Nicosia yesterday.

The Hoops star has claimed 13 goals for 29 appearances for the champions this season, but went into yesterday’s group encounter without a solitary strike to his name for his country after nine outings.

However, he managed to open his scoring account for the Scots at the 10th attempt  – an it was a glorious goal that was well worth the wait.

Christie latched onto a short pass from John McGinn wide on the right before zeroing in on the Cypriot penalty box. He picked up speed as he came inside and left the keeper clutching air as his beautifully-flighted left-foot 20-yard effort curved high into the top right-hand corner of the net.

The Highlander, speaking to the Evening Times, beamed: “I was delighted to score. It’s something I’ve been desperate to do every time I’ve played for Scotland.

“It’s taken longer than I wanted, but it was nice to get it in an away win.”

SCOTLAND THE RAVE…John McGinn celebrates his winner with Ryan Christie and skipper Steven Naismith.

Giorgios Efrem, who looked to have been robbed of a first-half goal when his shot hit the bar and bounced down perilously close to the line, ;evvelled two minutaes after the interval.

But Aston Villa’s McGinn swiftly restored Scotland’s advantage when he scored from close range.

The former Hibs man said: “There were a lot of new faces in the squad and that’s a game we might have drawn or even lost in recent times. It’s important we get the winning mentality, even though it wasn’t pretty near the end.

“It’s important to try and build. It’s a win, a step forward and, hopefully, we’ll do the same on Tuesday.”

The winner was McGinn’s fifth goal in five games for his country and he added: “Trying to arrive in the box late is something I’ve been working on.

“It was a great ball by Greg Taylor and all I had to do was keep it low. All everybody wants is Scotland at a national tournament and, hopefully, we can carry this into March.”

The Scots take on Kazakhstan at Hampden on Tuesday night before switching their attention to the play-offs for the Euro 2020 Finals in March.

 

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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