Scotland squeeze beyond newly-assembled Czech Republic squad
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Olomouc (Czech Republic) (AFP)
Scotland avoided an embarrassing night in Olomouc by coming from behind to beat an inexperienced Czech Republic side assembled just two days ago, 2-1 in the Nations League on Monday.
The Czechs released their entire first-choice squad and coaching staff after Friday's 3-1 win in Slovakia over fears a coronavirus outbreak in the squad could spread.
After initially announcing the game would be postponed, the Czech football association agreed to name an entirely new squad and coaching staff, consisting of just two players to have previously been capped at senior level by their country.
But it was one of the international new boys who gave the hosts a shock lead 12 minutes in as Jakub Pesek ghosted in behind Scott McTominay to control a Stanislav Tecl pass and slot beyond a helpless David Marshall.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke made five changes from a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Israel on Friday and the visitors looked disjointed with Manchester United's McTominay in particular uncomfortable as a makeshift centre-back.
Clarke had dropped Kieran Tierney as he abandoned trying to fit two natural left-backs in the Arsenal defender and Liverpool's Andy Robertson into the same side.
And Robertson did look more like he does at club level as the Scotland captain played a big part in both goals.
His crossfield pass picked out Liam Palmer, whose teasing low cross into the box was prodded home by Lyndon Dykes for his first international goal on 27 minutes.
Robertson then won a penalty seven minutes into the second half with a purposeful run into the box before he was chopped down by Tomas Malinsky and Ryan Christie converted the resulting spot-kick.
However, it was the young Czechs who then dominated the final half hour as they hit the woodwork twice in the search for an equaliser.
Marek Havlik's thunderous free-kick came back off the post before Marshall produced a brilliant save to deny Pesek and Tecl fired the rebound wide with the goal gaping.
Antonin Rusek's looping header then clipped the post as the game entered stoppage time, but Scotland clung on to move top of League B, Group 2.
© 2020 AFP