SCOTTISH CUP RUNNETH OVER?
A superb second half performance gave Scotland a deserved victory over Wales in the Carling Nations Cup in Dublin.
The Scots will face the Republic of Ireland on Sunday evening in what is now a genuine Final for the tournament. Both teams lead the round- robin tournament with full points from their two matches so far, but the Republic has a better goal difference, so Scotland will need to win to take the trophy.
With all the matches being played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the Republic will have home advantage, and the volcanic ash cloud certainly affected the Tartan Army attendance in tonight’s match where there were less than 5,000 seats occupied.
The Scottish team seemed listless in a first half in which an understrength Wales side more than made their presence felt, though they created very few real chances in the match.
Captain-for-the-night Robert Earnshaw took the best of them after 36 minutes when Stephen Crainey made an error. Earnshaw pounced, shrugged off Scott Brown and crafted a delightful chip past Allan McGregor for the opener.
Manager Craig Levein took the decision not to make any changes at half- time, but clearly gave his players a roasting as the Scots were a transformed outfit in the second half.
After some dodgy passes, Charlie Adam showed his true colours in 55 minutes with a delightful through ball that allowed James Morrison to stride on and calmly score his first goal for his country on his 25th birthday.
Eight minutes later, captain Kenny Miller scored his 14th for Scotland and his second in the tournament – putting him joint top with the Republic’s Robbie Keane – with a comfortably-taken goal after good work by Morrison.
Christophe Berra wrapped up the win with a third in 70 minutes, heading home powerfully from a cross by one of Scotland’s best players, Steven Whittaker.
The Scots could have had more, but the game became disjointed as both managers used their full quota of six substitutes. Levein sent on Grant Hanley and Russell Martin to gain their first caps, both recruited in the manager’s search for the sons of Scots to boost his squads.
Scotland in with a chance of a trophy? Salmond’s Spring just gets better.
Scotland: McGregor, Whittaker, Caldwell, Berra, Crainey, Naismith, Brown, Adam, Morrison, McCormack, Miller.
Subs – McArthur, Hanley, Martin, Bardsley, Brannan, Robson.
Wales: Myhill, Eardley, Morgan, Blake, Taylor, Tudur Jones, Dorman, King, Vokes, Earnshaw, Easter.
Subs – Gunter, Vaughan, Ramsey, Matthews, Cotterill, Morison.