The Scottish Mail on Sunday

5 things we learned

- By Calum Crowe By Graeme Croser

Tier­ney should be the first name on the team-sheet

IT doesn’t mat­ter what po­si­tion he is asked to play, the per­for­mances of Kieran Tier­ney now de­mand he is the first name in Gor­don Strachan’s lineup. Whether it’s his nat­u­ral slot at left-back, fill­ing in at right-back as he did against Slove­nia in March, or op­er­at­ing as a left-sided cen­tre-half as he did last night, the 20-year-old has been con­sis­tently out­stand­ing.

Mul­grew still has a lot to of­fer the na­tional side

DE­SPITE be­ing rel­e­gated to League One in Eng­land with Black­burn, Char­lie Mul­grew is still wor­thy of his place in the Scot­land set-up. The 31-year-old isn’t the most im­pos­ing de­fender you’ll ever see, but his read­ing of the game and com­po­sure on the ball are at­tributes no other Scot­land cen­tre-half can match.

Strachan must stop se­lect­ing his favourites

THROUGH a com­bi­na­tion of in­jury and lack of form, Robert Sn­od­grass has strug­gled for game time since mov­ing to West Ham in Jan­uary. Why, then, does Strachan con­tinue to have such blind faith? Sn­od­grass had lit­tle im­pact against Slove­nia in March and was off the pace again here prior to be­ing hooked af­ter the hour mark.

Crosses are killing us

LOOK at the three goals we con­ceded in the 3-0 loss at Wem­b­ley last year. And the three away in Slo­vakia. Also, through­out the failed bid to reach Euro 2016… and then look at Harry Kane’s late equaliser last night. It’s a chronic in­abil­ity to de­fend crosses that scup­per any chance Scot­land might have of keep­ing a clean sheet.

We’re now liv­ing on a prayer

VIC­TORY was im­per­a­tive yes­ter­day. Af­ter a poor start, win­ning all of our home games had be­come a ne­ces­sity. Four games now re­main — Lithua­nia, Malta, Slo­vakia and Slove­nia — and the sit­u­a­tion re­quires the kind of mir­a­cle few are pre­pared to be­lieve in.

on Fraser cre­ated the chance. From the dead ball, Grif­fiths pinged a left-foot fin­ish that did not need to hit the far cor­ner of the net to get the bet­ter of Hart.

In­cred­i­bly, Scot­land were gifted a for­tu­nate set-piece shortly af­ter when Liver­more caught an al­ready slid­ing Chris Martin. Time for the fear­less, deadly Grif­fiths again. From fur­ther out, to the other side of Hart, with the same stun­ning re­sult. Grif­fiths lapped up the fer­vent re­ac­tion of the Tar­tan Army, whose dreams were all of a sud­den back fo­cused on a late, dis­be­liev­ing run at Rus­sia.

Gor­don beat away a free-kick from Dier and Ham­p­den begged that was the last time to breathe a sigh of re­lief. Some chance. Scot­land did not gather pos­ses­sion and Ster­ling de­liv­ered a devil of deep ball all the way to Kane, whose com­po­sure was ex­em­plary as he tucked the ball home on the vol­ley.

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