In their quest to win successive European Championships, sensational Scotland stunned Spain in a valiant victory.
After only seven minutes, Scott McTominay deflected the opening goal and erupted into a cacophonous Hampden Park.
Steve Clarke’s team rode their luck to maintain their lead at halftime, only for McTominay to duplicate his previous performance shortly after the restart, causing havoc among the crowd in addition to the bewildered Spanish defense.
Scotland now leads Group A, three points ahead of the demoralized Spaniards and five in front of a stuttering Norway after claiming their first competitive victory over Spain in 39 years.
This one was intended for lovers. Also, it was for the long-suffering.
The most ardent supporters are from Scotland. Even after losing in Kazakhstan, playing Israel repeatedly, losing 1-0 to Costa Rica, needing a last-second Harry Kane goal to even the score, and qualifying for a major championship for the first time in a generation only to have your goaltender lobbed from halfway out.
Ten years ago, a top-10 Croatian team was defeated here, but it’s doubtful that since World Cup champions France were valiantly defeated in 2006 and 2007, devotion has been rewarded as it was at a national stadium soaked with drama and damp Glaswegian weather.
Although Clarke guided Scotland to Euro 2020, this night ranks with Denmark’s elimination and shootouts in Serbia in terms of historic nights. and still more.
Scotland started to move forward in the eighth minute. The troubled full-back for Spurs, Pedro Porro, stumbled, opening the way for Andy Robertson to score. McTominay’s low rifled shot went off the flailing Inigo Martinez and into the goal thanks to his perfectly timed cut back.
When Scotland’s new hero scored again in the 51st minute, you could have heard a pin drop if that had sparked frenzy.
This time, the Spanish failed to cope with Kieran Tierney’s cross following a roving run. As McTominay’s boot made contact with the leather on the half-volley, 50,000 people held their collective breath.
Once chaos broke out in the audience, Clarke gave himself a small fist pump to show a moment of emotion.
In actuality, Spain, who made eight changes from the team that defeated Norway 3-0 on Saturday, was defeated by a fatal blow. 50/50 passes are lost all over the place.
They were a pale imitation of the group that had the Scots hanging onto a lead at the break. It was their second loss in 39 attempts to qualify for the European Championship.
Ryan Christie’s rambling run and toe poke went by for what would have been a split second, but shortly Joseulu of Espanyol started causing trouble. He got a free header that Angus Gunn saved before thundering off the crossbar with another attempt.
Robertson then had a moment of insanity, and he was fortunate to avoid putting a shoulder to Porro’s jaw. By that time, it had become a bombardment.
But, Scotland ought to have improved their lot as well. Just before halftime, Lyndon Dykes mishandled a one-on-one situation while John McGinn smacked the crossbar straightaway from a free kick.
It wasn’t important in the end. “no Scotland, no party” was chanted by the crowd as the game came to an end. It might still be going for a while.