Thursday, November 15, 2012
Norwich City defender Steven Whittaker played the full 90 minutes as Scotland secured a narrow friendly victory against Luxembourg under the guidance of caretaker manager Billty Sark.
Whittaker put in a solid shift for the visitors, playing a part in their second goal and doing a good job at the back as the minnows threatened a comeback in the second half.
Jordan Rhodes hit a first-half double as an attack-minded Scotland side began life after Craig Levein with a narrow win.
The Blackburn striker headed home from close range and then slotted a simple second. However, Scotland failed to build on their lead and survived some nervous moments after Lars Gerson’s well-placed free-kick brought Luxembourg back into the game 90 seconds after the break.
Rhodes opened the scoring on 11 minutes when Ante Bukvic turned a cross against his own post. Then Andrew Shinnie collected Whittaker’s cross from the right and hit the byline before driving the ball towards and Rhodes fired home from six yards after the ball had been blocked.
Miller was soon through on goal after a series of short, sharp passes with Naismith but the flag was raised as the striker shot straight at Jonathan Joubert.
Scotland continued to control possession but they were almost caught out before the break when Mutsch broke down the left and sent over a low cross to right-winger Charles Leweck, whose drive was held by Gilks.
Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Kelly replaced Mulgrew at half-time to make his debut but he soon gave away a foul that allowed the hosts back into the game. The execution was superb as Gerson curled his 25-yard free-kick into the top corner to leave Gilks with no chance.
Scotland continued to dominate possession but were making little headway with Naismith growing frustrated at the number of fouls committed by the home defenders.
Leigh Griffiths became the third new cap in the 70th minute when he replaced Shinnie with Miller moving wide right.
Scotland soon had a let-off after a move broke down on the right with Whittaker out of position.
Hanley backed off after David Turpel collected the ball and the Luxembourg forward turned and sent the ball inside him and out to Mutsch.
The home captain’s cross found Stefano Bensi in a great position but Gilks did enough to unconvincingly palm the header wide for a corner.
Before the match, Stark had signalled his intention of making six substitutions but the game was in the balance and Scotland’s formation, now looking more like a 4-2-4, was giving the hosts space to attack.
Rhodes thought he had his hat-trick as he headed home Kelly’s cross but the flag was immediately raised and Bensi tested Gilks again with a 20-yard drive that the goalkeeper got down well to hold.
Gilks then saved Turpel’s header before Murray Davidson won his first cap as the midfielder came on for Rhodes to see help see out the match in injury-time.