Scotland finished up preparations for the European Championships with a controlled 1-0 victory away to Luxembourg this evening.
A full-strength tartan army perhaps might have been slightly more prolific in front of the goal – but in truth never looked under any real threat from the side that rank 96th in the world.
Front-man, Lyndon Dykes had to be fairly patient in the opening stages after missing more than one chance to give his side the lead.
Though it would be the Aussie-born striker who would go on to set-up the opener, unselfishly squaring and putting the ball on a plate for strike-partner Ché Adams, who had smartly drifted himself into a yard of space at the back post.
Just five minutes later any hopes of a Luxembourg equaliser looked to have disappeared.
Adams’ reverse ball through the centre caught every defender well off-guard – with Vahid Selimovic given marching orders for pulling down Lyndon Dykes as he ran through on goal.
Highly regarded Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour was brought into the fray at half-time, and by 60 minutes he had almost got his first goal for the national side – being denied by a diving save from home goalkeeper Anthony Moris just shortly after John McGinn had a similar effort kept out.
As the clock ran down Scotland continued to dominate the play but were never quite able to add that second goal – Dykes again, Adams and McTominay in particular might be disappointed with the opportunities they let pass by.
Some sections of the Scotland support may be disappointed by the narrow score-line, though perhaps the most important element was getting through the warm-ups with a clean bill of health.
Here are three things we learned from the match!
Scotland boss Steve Clarke opted for Lyndon Dykes and Ché Adams to lead the line in what likely represents the common opinion amongst Scotland fans.
With Dykes specialty of bringing surrounding team mates into play alongside the clinical finishing of the highly rated Southampton hitman, starting the pair together in theory should allow the two to link-up and create a flurry of chances between each other.
In the first-half especially, we got a glimpse of how that may look. For the opener Dykes looked to have a straightforward chance for himself – but instead cut the ball back and gifted his partner an easy tap-in. For Clarke and Scotland fans alike seeing the pair build chemistry between each other has got to be welcome sight!
Gilmour takes his chance?
Potentially the most popular inclusion to the squad was the debut call-up given to 19-year-old Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour.
Previously a mainstay to the under-21 set-up, the youngster’s ability to dictate the tempo of a game meant the tartan army had been keen to voice their approval of his step-up to the senior side, with boss Steve Clarke now well and truly on their side.
Gilmour played this evening the way he does best – at club level he may not be given the chance to break forward as often, but regularly here he broke into the final-third and proved perhaps he has what it takes to play in a more advanced role for his country.
Unfortunately the former Rangers youth player’s second cap turned out only to be a brief cameo, a harsh tackle meant Clarke took Gilmour back off after just half an hour on the pitch, though thankfully initial signs make it appear this was only a pre-caution.
McTominay in midfield
One of the major talking points surrounding the Scotland camp is how Steve Clarke may utilise Manchester United midfielder, Scott McTominay.
Thus, far his international career has seen a mixture of being deployed in his traditional box-to-box midfield position, a deeper sitting role similar to the like Ryan Jack would go on to claim his own, and a stint on the right hand side of the back three.
What we learned today though was that the manager seemingly wanted to get an idea of what the 24-year-old can do in his more natural position – with McTominay spending the 90 minutes getting up and down the park as the legs of Scotland’s midfield three.
Interestingly though this move would effect the role of Grant Hanley, who shifted from the central defender to the one in McTominay’s previous right-centre-back position.
Of course nothing will be set in stone until the morning of the game, but the teams selected for these friendlies certainly indicates the days his more defensive position may well be in the past.
Featured Image Credit – BBC