McGinn’s spectacular overhead kick rescues a point for Scotland in World Cup qualifier.


John McGinn’s jaw-dropping overhead kick optimised Scotland’s character against Austria as Steve Clarke’s side rescued a point in 2-2 affair at Hampden Park.

Sasa Kalajdzic’s first two goals for his country had put his side ahead in Glasgow before McGinn’s sensational overhead kick rescued a point for Scotland. The in-form VfB Stuttgart striker fired in the rebound after David Marshall had palmed Florian Grillitsch’s long-range effort back into a dangerous area.

Grant Hanley responded with a bullet header from Stephen O’Donnell’s free-kick as the hosts levelled before Kalajdzic got his second of the night with an excellent headed goal of his own to divert Stefan Lainer’s cross into the top corner.

It was a cagey start to the fixture as both sides failed to leave an impression on each other, with few goal-scoring opportunities created throughout the first half. Although Austria had their best chance of the half in the opening minutes as a loose ball found its-ways to Kalajdzic on the edge of the box, the inform talisman could only bend his effort wide of the near post.

As the half progressed, Scotland grew into the game as space started to emerge in-between the Austria defence and midfield as both Stuart Armstrong and Ryan Christie’s influence in the game was ever-present. It was the two’s attacking outlets who combined to deliver Scotlands first effort of the game, after great work from Scott McTominay the ball was worked to the edge of the box where Armstrong sliced his attempt wide of the goal.

Scotland could have easily taken the lead in the dying embers of the first half after Austria goalkeeper Alexander Schlager got himself in trouble as he looked to play out from the back, his pass was reached by an outstretched Lyndon Dykes. The QPR forward fed Christie, who drove into the box before seeing his shot saved as the keeper redeemed himself.

Celtic’s Christie was at the forefront of Scotland’s attacking play in the first half as he saw yet another effort saved by the Austria keeper after he prodded his effort goal-wards minutes before the whistle was blown for half-time.

The second-half was frantic as four goals entered the net at both ends of the pitch. After his bright start to the first-half, it was no surprise who put the visitors ahead just 9 minutes after play had resumed. It was Florian Grillistch who fired his effort powerfully at Marshall from 25 yards, the Scotland goalkeeper could only parry his effort straight to Kalajdzic who opened his and Austria’s first of the game.

Under a minute after taking the lead, Austria were lucky to still be level when Christie was grappled to the ground inside the penalty area by Lienhart however the Spanish referee was unfazed by claims made by the Scotland squad.

Austria had the ball in the net for a second time on the 58th minutes, but it was ruled out for a foul on Kieran Tierney as Kalajdzic had deemed to have pushed the Arsenal full back before heading his effort into the net, this was a clear wakeup call for Scotland who started to put pressure on Franco Fodo’s side.

Hanley levelled the scoreline for Scotland in the 71st minute with a powerful header into the right-hand corner, from a deep free-kick inside the Austria half. The Norwich centre back rewarded manager Steve Clarke as he was recalled to the squad for the first time in three years.

Scotland continued to push forward for a winning goal as Southampton striker Che Adam made his debut after changing his alliance to Scotland in recent weeks. It was his strike partner Dykes who went close when he was only metres away from connecting with an inviting Andy Robertson cross.

Despite their pressure, it was the in-form Bundesliga striker Kalajdzic who doubled his tally for the night after his sensational header entered the top corner ten minutes until time. Stefan Lainer whipped a ball in from deep behind the Austrian striker, but he makes the most of it, guiding the ball into the top corner from 12 yards as Marshall stood rooted to the ground.

McGinn was given the licence to attack in the dying embers of the game as Steve Clarke went after a point on home soil. His decision soon proved pivotal as the Aston Villa midfielder scored a jaw-dropping overhead kick after the ball was headed back into the penalty area by Christie. Goalkeeper Schlager could only watch and appreciate the quality of McGinn as his effort found the far corner.

Scotland will now travel to Israel to face Willibald Ruttensteiner’s side on Sunday 28th March, just five months after knocking them out in the semi-finals of the EUROS qualifiers.

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Cameron Anderson-Jones is an EFL/EPL and F1 writer. Follow Cameron on Twitter @CamAnderson77 to stay up to date with his pieces produced for Prost International.

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