Faroe's 0-2 Scotland
Scotland steered their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign back on track with a 2-0 win in the Faroe Islands tonight.

The tiny North Atlantic outpost has not been a happy hunting ground in the past but the curse of the Faroes finally came to an end thanks to goals from Shaun Maloney and Garry O'Connor.

Maloney made the most of his inclusion in the top team by grabbing the opener with a superb free-kick, before O'Connor doubled the advantage a week after bagging the winner in a friendly in Austria.

The Faroes claimed there was no attempt
to gain a psychological edge over Scotland by forcing them to return to the scene of some of their most humiliating outings but there is no doubt there would have been a feeling of trepidation returning to Toftir.

World champions Italy had played their qualifier at Torshavn's new Torsvollur Stadium on Saturday night but Alex McLeish's men were forced to travel to the dilapidated Toftir Stadium for tonight's clash.

The clifftop venue had witnessed both the 1-1 draw of Craig Brown's reign in 1999 and the far more notorious 2-2 draw three years later, which saw Berti Vogts' side forced to fight back from two goals behind to scrape a late point through goals from Paul Lambert and Barry Ferguson.

Now national team skipper, Ferguson had been rated slightly doubtful for this crucial clash with a calf strain but, fortunately for Scotland, the Rangers midfielder passed a late fitness test.

Meanwhile, Maloney was drafted into the first team on the left of midfield after Wigan's Lee McCulloch was forced to withdraw from the squad with an ankle injury.

There was a further injury concern for Scotland early on when Graham Alexander had to leave the pitch for treatment after being hit in the face with the ball.

Meanwhile, the Scots had a decent chance to take the lead when Darren Fletcher tried to pick out Paul Hartley for the header in front of goal but the move was intercepted by a white shirt.

There was also an injury worry for the Faroes when Oli Johannesen was taken off but he eventually reappeared almost eight minutes later.

Alexander also returned to the pitch after receiving treatment, meaning no early change of personnel for McLeish.

A Jon Roi Jacobsen foul on O'Connor then provided Scotland with the opportunity to put the host nation under pressure.

Maloney stepped up for the free-kick from 35 yards and his thunderous effort was only just punched to safety by goalkeeper Jakup Mikkelsen.

There was then a moment of panic when Holst flighted a cross into the box and Rogvi Jacobsen managed to shrug off David Weir six yards out. But, thankfully for Scotland, Gordon managed to pluck the ball from the air before Jacobsen could connect for the header.
At the other end, Kris Boyd's head flick was met by O'Connor, whose drive looked netbound only for Mikkelsen to somehow touch the effort on to the post.

Naysmith picked up the first booking of the match for a challenge on Jakup a Borg with just under half an hour gone.

Boyd should have opened the scoring when an Alexander ball struck Frodi Benjaminsen and fell kindly to the feet of the Scotland striker only for him to blast over when it looked easier to score.

The breakthrough came after 31 minutes. Johannesen was booked for a challenge on Boyd 22 yards out before Maloney stepped up to send the free-kick curling over the Faroes' wall and into the bottom corner of the net.

Scotland doubled their lead four minutes later when O'Connor pounced on a Fletcher cross into the box and managed to stab low into the net from six yards.

Johannesen was withdrawn 10 minutes before the break and replaced by Marni Djurhuus.

Having already substituted their captain, neither the Faroes nor Scotland took advantage of the half-time break to make any further changes.

Despite trailing by two goals, the home side had the best of the possession after the restart and could have reduced the deficit.

Borg hooked just over the crossbar from a Jacobsen cross, before Holst stabbed inches wide of the upright from close range.
The Faroes continued to pile on the pressure in the hope of mounting a comeback and Mikkjal Thomassen was not too far away with a shot from distance, which fell wide of the post.

Gordon was then forced to race from his line to block a point-blank effort from Borg as the home side grew in confidence.

Scotland made their first change with just over 20 minutes to go when Fletcher was replaced by Gary Teale.

Ferguson then added his name to the crime count when he was booked for a foul on Thomassen, before Maloney was replaced by Charlie Adam.

Boyd could have put the game beyond the Faroes with 10 minutes to go but, sandwiched between Jacobsen and Benjaminsen, his shot was weak and easily dealt with.

Young Kilmarnock striker Steven Naismith was handed his first senior cap late on, taking the place of Boyd.

There was a scare with a couple of minutes to go when Andrew av Flotum struck the bar but Scotland managed to hold on for the three crucial points.

Faroe Islands
Mikkelsen Rogvi Jacobsen,Christian Hogni Jacobsen,
Benjaminsen, Thomassen,Borg (Flotum 82), Olsen
Danielsen, Jon Roi Jacobsen,Johannesen (Djurhuus 36)
Lamhauge Holst,Djurhuus (Samuelsen 77).
Subs Not Used: Meinhardt Joensen, Hansen, Elttor, Horg.
Booked: Johannesen.
Alexander, Weir, McManus, Naysmith
Hartley,Ferguson, Fletcher (Teale 68), Maloney (Adam 77)
'Connor,Boyd (Naismith 83).
Subs Not Used: McGregor, Hutton, Caldwell, Dailly.
Booked: Naysmith, Ferguson.

Goals: Maloney 31, O'Connor 35.

Ref: Georgios Kasnaferis (Greece).

Att: 4,600


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