TWO days to go before Scotland’s second World Cup Qualifier against Lithuania at Hampden, where Gordon Strachan’s side will be aiming for a morale boosting win ahead of the trip to Slovakia next Tuesday.
Although this is the first World Cup clash between the sides, there have been four previous Hampden clashes between the sides in European Championship Qualification, where Scotland have a 100% record.
No doubt many punters will be going online to put money on another home victory, and should consider betting apps which people vote the best, to ensure they get the best deals.
As the nation prepares for the rollercoaster ride that comes with watching the National team, and punters ponder on where to place their bets on the big game, let’s look back at the previous Hampden meetings between Scotland and Lithuania.
October 1999 – Scotland 3 Lithuania 0
Undoubtedly the least meaningful match between the two at the end of the Euro 2000 qualifying campaign, where the Scots had already secured a playoff berth. It was the first International at the National Stadium since March 1996 due to redevelopment work, although the crowd was low due to the little importance that surrounded the game. A largely experimental side swept to a convincing victory thanks to goals from Don Hutchison, who put away a rebound from a missed penalty from Mark Burchill, two cap wonder Gary McSwegan and then Hearts team mate Colin Cameron. Scotland went onto face England for a place in Holland and Belgium, however the hard luck story had a new chapter.
October 2003 – Scotland 1 Lithuania 0
There was a lot riding on this game as the Scots needed to win to overhaul Iceland to grab the playoff position for Euro 2004. It was the game where Darren Fletcher made his first big contribution in a Scotland jersey, as his volley from a deflected cross secured a nervy win for the hosts and gave Berti Vogts side a playoff berth with Holland. Least said about that the better…
September 2007 – Scotland 3 Lithuania 1
Arguably, the most memorable meeting between the sides in Glasgow in the Euro 2008 campaign that was so nearly successful. Kris Boyd opened the scoring before Saulius Mikoliunas conned the referee big style to win a penalty, converted by Danielvicius to level proceedings. Rather than mope on the injustice, Scotland dusted themselves down and got on with the job and there perseverance paid off with a Stephen McManus goal then a peach from James McFadden to send Scotland to France four days later full of confidence. We had a right to be confident in Paris it turned out!
September 2011 – Scotland 1 Lithuania 0
Having blown a lead twice against Czech Republic three days earlier, Scotland were under pressure to keep their playoff hopes for Euro 2012 alive. A largely forgettable game brought two main highlights, a missed penalty from Darren Fletcher, a surprise choice to take the kick, and the winner from Steven Naismith, his first Scotland goal, with a half volley from a Barry Bannan cross.
The Tartan Army have their right to expect three points given that record but should also be wary that it won’t be easy on Saturday night. Lithuania are no mugs and were very unfortunate not to take three points against fellow group rivals Slovenia on match day one.
However, if we show the kind of form we showed going forward against Malta and the first half of the Euro 2016 campaign, then we should have enough in our locker to continue our 100% record against the Lithuanians.