Scotland 1-0 Moldova: Lyndon Dykes goal keeps Steve Clarke’s side in World Cup hunt


Lyndon Dykes scored his third Scotland goalScotland kept their World Cup qualification dream alive with a nervy but deserved win over Moldova thanks to Lyndon Dykes’ tap-in at Hampden.

The Scots missed chances and endured uneasy moments in equal measure after Nathan Patterson created Dykes’ goal.

Head coach Steve Clarke had suggested Group F had reached a “pivotal” moment and so it could prove after this and Israel’s win over Austria.

Israel sit second, with Scotland up to third before Tuesday’s trip to Vienna.

Clarke had wanted an improved performance as well as the three points against the group’s bottom side but said he would settle for a first win in five outings.

In the end, he got the latter and half a performance, with a first 45 minutes full of vigour before a disjointed second that nevertheless keeps Scotland in the hunt for reaching their first World Cup finals since 1998 at the group’s halfway stage.

Reaction & as it happenedPatterson ‘a big player for us’ – ClarkeClarke’s team selection reflected his pre-match warning that this was a “must-win” game.

The six changes from Wednesday’s defeat in Denmark added speed and an attacking threat that had the visitors pinned back in their own half for an opening spell in which Moldova head coach Roberto Bordin had promised to frustrate the Scots.

Just as Clarke’s decision to start captain Andy Robertson at right-back in Denmark appeared to backfire, handing Patterson a first start in that position, and likewise Kevin Nisbet up front, proved the undoing of Bordin’s plan.

Captain Igor Armas had returned from suspension for Moldova, but the towering centre-half’s pass was intercepted by Patterson, the Rangers right-back played a one-two with Nisbet and, when his low shot could only be palmed clear by goalkeeper Cristian Avram, Dykes was presented with a simple tap-in at the back post.

A wave of blue was now flowing towards the visiting goal and Kieran Tierney ought to have done better than have a downward close-range header touched over by Avram and likewise Robertson fired wastefully over.

Scotland were almost made to pay for those misses when midfielder Mihail Ghecev fired a yard wide and defender Maxim Potirniche’s header threatened the back post.

There were further tense moments for the home side early in the second half before Billy Gilmour, who was otherwise excellently marshalling the midfield, somehow fired wide with only Avram to beat.

Ryan Christie did likewise, shooting over after being set up by substitute David Turnbull before a busy Hampden Park breathed a collective sigh of relief as their team survived a late flurry of desperate pressure from visitors ranked a lowly 175th in the world.

Man of the match – Billy GilmourBilly Gilmour, in central midfield, missed a good chance but was the fulcrum of everything good in Scotland’s performanceWhat did we learn?Scotland had scored once in four games without a victory before defeating Moldova and goals remain the Achilles heel for Clarke’s side.

However, they have given themselves a fighting chance of finishing runners-up behind a Denmark side who now appear out of sight, five points clear at the top.

Patterson shook off early nerves to give Clarke food for thought at right-back even once Stephen O’Donnell is fully fit, while Nisbet proved himself at this level with his part in the goal.

Dykes at times was anonymous, but with four goals in his last five games for club and country, the Queens Park Rangers striker is the match winner Scotland might need in Austria.

What they saidScotland head coach Steve Clarke: “It was important we played on the front foot. I think we did that. It was important to get a clean sheet. We did that as well. So a good night for us.

“We had to win the game tonight otherwise Tuesday would probably be a dead rubber. You always need that second to avoid that nervy five minutes at the end.

“If you are not creating chances, you are more worried than if you are creating chances and not scoring, but we created a lot of good chances and 1-0 is enough to get the three points.”

Match statisticsScotland gained just their second victory in their last 11 competitive matches under Steve Clarke, losing five, having won six of their previous eight and drawing two.Moldova have lost 14 of their last 17 away matches in qualifying for major tournaments, losing their last 10 in a row by an aggregate score of 28-1.Scotland have won six of their last nine home World Cup qualifiers, drawing three, and keeping clean sheets in all six victories.Lyndon Dykes netted his first international goal since October 2020, ending a run of 12 matches without one for Scotland.Scotland defender Kieran Tierney three attempts on goal – all on target – were more than any other player in the match.Captain Andrew Robertson became the 33rd player to reach 50 caps for Scotland, with only Paul McStay, Kenny Dalglish and Darren Fletcher reaching the milestone at a younger age than the 27-year-old.What’s next?Scotland travel to face an Austria side in Vienna on Wednesday (19:45 BST) who will be smarting from their 5-2 humbling in Israel.

Player of the match

PattersonNathan Patterson

with an average of 7.88

ScotlandSquad number22Player namePatterson

Squad number4Player nameGilmour

Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

Squad number6Player nameTierney

Squad number9Player nameDykes

Squad number5Player nameHanley

Squad number1Player nameGordon

Squad number3Player nameRobertson

Squad number13Player nameHendry

Squad number8Player nameMcGregor

Squad number19Player nameNisbet

Squad number11Player nameChristie

Squad number10Player nameAdams

Squad number16Player nameCooper

Squad number23Player nameMcLean

Squad number18Player nameTurnbull

MoldovaSquad number15Player nameJardan

Squad number23Player nameAvram

Squad number22Player nameRata

Squad number4Player nameArmas

Squad number18Player nameDros

Squad number5Player namePotirniche

Squad number9Player nameGhecev

Squad number2Player nameReabciuk

Squad number3Player nameBolohan

Squad number7Player nameIonita

Squad number20Player namePlatica

Squad number11Player nameGînsari

Squad number10Player nameSpataru

Squad number8Player nameClescenco

Line-upsScotlandFormation 3-4-1-2






1Gordon13Hendry5Hanley6Tierney22Patterson4GilmourSubstituted forMcLeanat 73’minutes7McGinnSubstituted forMcGregorat 65’minutes3RobertsonSubstituted forCooperat 74’minutes11Christie9DykesSubstituted forTurnbullat 85’minutes19NisbetSubstituted forAdamsat 65’minutesSubstitutes2O’Donnell8McGregor10Adams12Kelly14McKenna15Gallagher16Cooper17Ferguson18Turnbull20Fraser21Clark23McLeanMoldovaFormation 3-5-2





23Avram5Potirniche3Bolohan4Armas15Jardan20Platica22Rata7IonitaBooked at 77minsSubstituted forClescencoat 90+4’minutes2Reabciuk9GhecevSubstituted forDrosat 45’minutes11GînsariSubstituted forSpataruat 88’minutesSubstitutes1Namasco6Dumbravanu8Clescenco10Spataru12Agachi13Bogaciuc14Marandici16Antoniuc17Belousov18Dros19Milinceanu21RevencoReferee:Lawrence Visser


Live TextMatch ends, Scotland 1, Moldova 0.

Second Half ends, Scotland 1, Moldova 0.

Substitution, Moldova. Nicky Clescenco replaces Artur Ionita.

Offside, Scotland. Craig Gordon tries a through ball, but Che Adams is caught offside.

Che Adams (Scotland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ion Jardan (Moldova).

Substitution, Moldova. Danu Spataru replaces Radu Gînsari.

Attempt missed. Ryan Christie (Scotland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by David Turnbull.

Kenny McLean (Scotland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Artur Ionita (Moldova).

Offside, Scotland. Liam Cooper tries a through ball, but Che Adams is caught offside.

Substitution, Scotland. David Turnbull replaces Lyndon Dykes.

Attempt missed. Grant Hanley (Scotland) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Kenny McLean with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Igor Armas.

Grant Hanley (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sergiu Platica (Moldova).

Kenny McLean (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Radu Gînsari (Moldova).

Foul by Ryan Christie (Scotland).

Vadim Rata (Moldova) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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