3 takeaways as Scotland see out 1-0 win over Moldova

Scotland were back to winning ways after in World Cup qualifying after seeing off Moldova 1-0 at Hampden. The home side were quick out the traps as Steve Clarke 's attacking side looked to hit their opponents in the opening minutes. But only a single Lyndon Dykes first half goal separated th...

3 takeaways as Scotland see out 1-0 win over Moldova

Scotland were back to winning ways after in World Cup qualifying after seeing off Moldova 1-0 at Hampden.

The home side were quick out the traps as Steve Clarke's attacking side looked to hit their opponents in the opening minutes.

But only a single Lyndon Dykes first half goal separated the teams after 90 minutes. And in truth, Scotland deserved more than that.

A first competitive start was handed to Rangers' Nathan Patterson who put in a very impressive performance at right-back.

It was shots from both fullbacks, Andy Robertson and Patterson, that showed early signs of promise inside five minutes.

But it was a counter attack that saw a parried shot from Patterson fall kindly for Dykes to open the scoring.

The tempo was set from then on, and the aforementioned duo involved in the goal were immense in turning defence into attack throughout the first half.

Dykes dropped deep to hold up the play and introduce midfielders, meanwhile Patterson's non stop running proved a key feature in his side's dominance.

Kieran Tierney should have doubled Scotland's lead when his free header attacked from a corner wasn't lethal enough to beat Moldova keeper Cristian Avram.

That was before Robertson blasted over from close range moments later.

A positive yet frustrating second half saw Scotland fail to build on their 1-0 lead and should have really put the game beyond reach.

But it's three more points in the group going in to Wednesday's clash with Austria.

It's now Nathan Patterson's position to lose

The Rangers right-back was awarded his first international start this evening and he grabbed his opportunity with both hands.

It really only could have been the 19-year-old tasked to occupy the right side of defence after Robertson and Fraser's stints there against Denmark proved ineffective.

But it wasn't just at the back the youngster excelled. In truth, he was a threat all over the park.

His performance was best epitomised in his little moments of 'defence into attack' play, where a successful tracking back and tackle was quickly followed by a dash up the other end in search of a forward.

Nathan Patterson

Patterson's involvement in the opening goal was sublime - intercepting Moldova's play before a one-two with Nisbet freed up a shot on goal for the fullback - unlucky not to score himself but his saved effort was easily tucked away by Dykes.

Clarke told Sky Sports prior to kick-off: “Stephen’s done well for us but I just feel this is the chance to give Nathan this start for the team and hopefully he does very well" - and the youngster has certainly impressed.

He was wearing the number 22 tonight, but his stellar performance may well see him snatch Stephen O'Donnell's number two in the next round of qualifiers.

Patterson has surely earned himself a starting place against Austria.

Scotland NEED to take their chances

Despite a dominant display and 90 minutes on the front foot, Steve Clarke's side still looked deprived of goals.

It was a huge talking point the during the Euro 2020 campaign. And the issue still remains.

Scotland could have been out of sight by half-time but again weren't clinical enough.

Some of the best opportunities seemed to fall outwith the frontline as Tierney's close-range header failed to find the net. A similar chance fell to Grant Hanley in the second half but his header went over

Meanwhile Robertson fluffed his shot before John McGinn's clean shot at goal barely troubled the goalkeeper.

The likes of Nisbet might need more time to find his feet in the National Team. The Hibs striker should've done better when he was found in acres of space inside the box. He looked certain to get his shot away but was dispossessed.

Nisbet did however grow into the game and later managed a shot on target, but was subbed for Che Adams just after the hour mark.

It is worth noting though that the strikeforce in September's squad is the same as that in the Euros so a lack of goals shouldn't be a huge surprise, but a more glaringly obvious problem as games progress.

Ian Crocker said in commentary "it was a painful wait for the second goal to come" and that just about sums it up when Scotland frustratingly fail to cause more damage against 'lesser' opponents.

Big players welcomed back

Wednesday's defeat to Denmark saw a decimated Scotland squad take the field in Copenhagen.

That brought positional issues on the night where skipper Robertson was forced to his unfavoured right-back.

It also left out key-man John McGinn who had previously tested positive for Covid.

However, the Aston Villa midfielder along with Christie came back into Steve Clarke's starting 11 both showed a positive influence in the team.

McGinn was back to winning freekicks and taking the ball in key positions to dictate the play.

Early signs of this were seen in the first half which put Moldova on the back foot.

Meanwhile the combination of Tierney and Robertson was back to its best down the left-hand-side where Scotland saw much of their attacking play.

Dykes back up front was also a welcome return as his work rate was crucial in driving the team forward - not to mention his crucial goal that secured all three points!