Forrest fire! Scotland sweep to big away win in Albania.


Albania 0 : 4 Scotland

Scotland beat Albania 4-0 in Shkodër tonight with two goals from James Forrest, an opener from Ryan Fraser and a penalty from Steven Fletcher. The win is the first away win in League C Group 1 but Scotland will still have to beat Israel at Hampden on Tuesday to top the group.

Albania were partly to blame for their own downfall as captain Mërgim Mavraj was lucky to be booked for a scything tackle on Forrest in the 21st minute but decided to head butt Ryan Christie to make sure of his red card. By then Scotland were already 1-0 up.

However with two matches left to go in the UEFA Nations League C Group 1, Scotland started their penultimate match tonight away to Albania up against it. They had 9 players out injured (seven of whom started in their last competitive match away to Israel a month ago) and had lost seven of their last nine matches.

But on paper FIFA’s 40th ranked team would still be favourites to get at least the draw they needed away to a team who are ranked 20 places further behind in 60th and who have an equally bad recent record of losing 7 of their last 10 matches.

Around 2,000 Scottish fans made the long journey over to the Balkans to Albania’s 5th largest city, Shkodër (population 130,000) which is a 1.5 hour drive north of the capital Tirana.

Photo: Mark Szczuka
Prost International

They found themselves being positioned rather bizarrely in five separate stands behind the goal.

The stadium holds recent happy memories for Scottish football fans as it was the location for Scotland’s Women’s victory back in September that saw them qualify for their first ever World Cup in France next summer.

Scotland got off to a great start, taking the lead after only 14 minutes through Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser’s first goal for his country.

Things got even better for Scotland when just seven  minutes later Albania’s captain Mergim Mavraj was sent off for head-butting Christie.

The Scots had a little fortune when the referee awarded them a penalty on the stoke of half time. The Albanian wall jumped to defend a free kick but one of their number handled the ball and the alert whistler caught it.

Steven Fletcher then ended a brilliant first half for the visitors by netting the second.

Into the second half and Scotland continued to dominate and sealed their victory with a double from Celtic’s James Forrest, his first two goals for his country.


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