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14 November 2012
• Stade Josy Barthel, Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourg)
Referee: C. Zimmermann
• Attendance: 2521
L. Gerson 47'
J. Rhodes 11', 23'
Many thanks for sticking with me (if you did) I admire your staying power more than you will ever know. I have been, am and presumably always will be, Andy Sixsmith. Till next time, keep living.
FULL TIME: Luxembourg 1-2 Scotland. The referee thankfully brings the end to a turgid, dire, pointless affair. Jordan Rhodes' quickfire first half double was enough to give Billy Stark his first win in what has been potentially his only game in temporary charge of Scotland. Luxembourg are doing their best to shed themselves of any title relating them to the game of football and only had Lars Gerson's sublime 47th minute free-kick to show for their frugal efforts.
90' + 1'
Stat Attack! Murray Davidson becomes the first St Johnstone player to represent the Tartan Army for 80 years. Well done to him. And St Johnstone too, I suppose.
It's that right wing delivery again causing problems for the Scots. Mario Mutsch, who in fairness to him, has not stopped going tonight, wings another one in and Turpel should frankly do better than to nod straight at Gilks. A minute left plus stoppage time.
More uncertain moments in an altogether creaky Scotland defence. Whittaker does well to clear a dangerous Luxembourg free-kick into the penalty area and Mutsch fails to connect properly with the rebound before a free-kick is given the Tartan Army's way. Hum...
I said it before, I'll say it again. The introduction of Bensi has given Luxembourg a modicum of impetus. Moments after Jordan Rhodes is denied a hat trick by an offside flag, the Luxembourg striker collects a long ball before turning sharply and firing in a low drive that Matt Gilks does well to get down on. One of the few moments of quality in a very dreary match.
Chance this. Real chance. If someone had been on the end of it... David Turpel sends a low, driven cross across the six-yard-box with nobody daring to make the run to turn it in. Shame.
And promptly smashes it straight into the Scotland wall... You feel it's one of those games where the referee just needs to blow up five minutes early to prevent widespread depression.
Well. Over half an hour ago, Lars Gerson curled a worldie into the top right-hand corner. He has a free-kick in a similar position here...
Tell you what mind, this Bensi character has given Luxembourg some much-needed (and I mean MUCH-needed) impetus. He forces a corner after Grant Hanley slides in unnecessarily... A corner which ultimately comes to nothing.
Not the greatest two minutes of Matt Gilks' goalkeeping career. The Blackpool stopper is fortunate to see his clearance rebound off a Luxembourg player and straight back to him, before eventually getting rid.
But seconds later, Mutsch is involved again as his precision left-wing centre is met well by Bensi, with Gilks fortunate to see his save drop wide of the post after he nearly palmed it into his own net. Let off for the Scots.
Even Darren Fletcher's passing radar is off tonight. A wayward cross-field slide is intercepted by Mutsch, but Luxembourg fail to capitalise on the counterattack.
Ooooohhh..... Chales Leweck is inches away from receiving a through-ball from Mario Mutsch but excellent covering from Whittaker prevents him from collecting. Aside from the slightly impressive Mutsch though, this Luxembourg team is rather dreadful. Few tactics, insufficient talent and an apparent lack of motivation is setting the tone for this second half.
The atmosphere (?) has just been permeated by a single cry of, 'Go on Scotlaanndd!' It sums up this match in one simple second. Both sides strangely seem quite happy to settle for a 2-1 result.
Although Da Mota has attempted to make up for that eye-sore of a horror pass by embarking on a mazy dribble through the Scotland midfield. Eventually the ball is laid off to Mario Mutsch who blasts high, wide and not particularly handsome.
November contender for worst football pass in the history of anything football related as Daniel Da Mota sends a scuffed shuffle straight to the feet of Darren Fletcher. Wow. Little comes of the Scotland breakaway though.
But Paul Dixon sends a left-footed effort straight into the Luxembourg wall which didn't look a full 10 yards back. Even the officials seem a little bit dozy tonight.
Although Steven Naismith has won a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the Luxembourg penalty area...
And after a relatively bright start to the second period, the match has returned to its first-half lull. Luxembourg showing surprisingly little enterprise, Scotland happy to attack as and when. The spectators (all 14 of them) seem restless.
D. da Mota
I do like that. The Stade Josey Barthel actually has real life benches for substitutes. Simple minds-easily pleased and all that jazz.
Scotland look a tad shell-shocked... Yes boys, Luxembourg have scored - time to get back on the bike. Steven Naismith attempts to but is flagged offside, rightly.
GOAAALLL!!!! LUXEMBOURG!!! GERSON!!! Well, well, well..... Way to put the Luxembourg cat among the Scottish pigeons... That man Gerson has just curled a sublime free-kick out of the reach of Matt Gilks and into the top right hand corner of the net. Errr Scotland?
I'll let you get away, grab some food, drink, whatever you feel necessary to get you through the second half, apart from me of course. I'll see you back here in ten.
HALFTIME: Luxembourg 0-2 Scotland at the Stade Josey Barthel. Jordan Rhodes' early double is reflective of the Scots' dominance. Calling Luxembourg lethargic would be being kind. Only Mario Mutsch has offered any attacking threat and Billy Stark can be simply looking forward to how many Scotland can score from here on in.
Still, at least it prevented one of the Scottish defenders from finishing his cuppa.
What a chance... Charles Leweck has been more noticeable in this first half for his defensive lapses rather than attacking intent, but he really should have halved the deficit. He's played in by that man Mutsch, but can only fire straight at Gilks. This half-time scoreline could have been oh so different.
Annnd that's why it's Jordan Rhodes scoring all the goals. From a corner, the ball falls to Steven Naismith but the Everton forward can only lean back and spank a half-volley quite a margin over the bar. Poor.
I am seriously struggling to write anything of a positive note for Luxembourg, but Bettmer has just fired in a 20-yard effort that simply daisycuts its way through to Gilks. I'm sure I spot one of the Scotland defenders pouring himself a cup of tea in the corner...
Jordan Rhodes has become the first Scottish player to net a double for the national team since Kris Boyd back in 2006 against the Faroe Islands. Stat o'clock on Goal.com.
Now that's a true goalmouth scramble... Another Dixon cross from the left wreaks havoc in the Luxembourg area - Miller has two chances to pull the trigger. And doesn't. Rhodes has two chances to pull the trigger. And doesn't. Pinball ends for now.
Ahh see... Miller's turn to look sharp - incisive build-up play sends the former Rangers striker clear, but he's strayed a little too far offside. Flag up. Play on.
You really do sense there are more goals in this for Scotland. I'd be disappointed if they didn't score at least 24 for instance. Jordan Rhodes looks very bright indeed, showing some nice touches alongside Kenny Miller up front.
Well, I watched Luxembourg against Portugal and they put up much more of a fight than this. Although Mario Mutsch is continuing his single-handed crusade to reduce the deficit. The forward is well tackled by Steven Whittaker as he was about to pull the trigger.
Goal Jordan Rhodes
GOAAAAALL!! SCOTLAND!!!!!!! RHODES!!!!!! Oh he's predatory isn't he? Andrew Shinnie nearly marks his own personal piece of history with a goal but although his shot is well saved by Joubert, Rhodes slams home the rebound to double Scotland's lead. How many do you want Jordan?
As is often the case when two poor defensive teams play each other, chances are starting to manifest themselves. Although Luxembourg will hope no more fall to Charles Leweck who spoons a 20-yard effort horribly high over the bar. Not nice.
Another decent cross from Charlie Mulgrew. Left hand side, he picks it up before curling a peach towards the penalty spot. Lux keeper Jonathan Joubert plucks it out of the air though, with Rhodes lurking once more.
Mario Mutsch is single-handedly trying to alter that perception though. He turns on the edge of the Scottish penalty area but can only swing a right-footed effort well wide of Gilks' goal.
This is as far from a classic as you can get. Scotland's passing seems to have deserted them. Luxembourg's passing was non-existent in the first place. It's resulting in a rather tepid encounter.
CHANCE!! Hello hello! Luxembourg DO spring clear down the right, but with a free header, Mutsch can only direct straight at Gilks who falls on the ball. Should have buried that, me ol' mucker.
Goal Jordan Rhodes
GOAAALLL!!! SCOTLAND!! RHODES!!!!!!!!! Ahem. I thank you. I can now pick my dignity off the floor. A superb cross from Dixon on the left is matched by the run of Rhodes, who gets across his marker to scramble home. Scrappy, but they all count don't they?
Question is, is that goal going to spur a rather lethargic Luxembourg team into some kind of retort? Well, considering since the goal, Scotland have had the ball, I'm thinking not. Stark's side are passing the ball around very nicely indeed.
CHANCE! Oh, curses. I apologise to the whole Rhodes family. A quite atrocious mistake by Blaise at the back for Luxembourg lets Rhodes run clear, but he fails to get the required bend on his finish and it dribbles harmlessly wide. The home defence look as shaky as a house of cards in a hurricane.
Ha. Speaking of rugby, I'm not sure how Charlie Mulgrew hasn't been picked up for a foul there. He rather shoulder barges Lavec off the ball as the two go for it. Nothing doing from the ref.
You feel Scotland need to get the ball up to Jordan Rhodes as quickly as possible tonight if they are to nick a couple of goals. The striker has started brightly after superb domestic form for Blackburn Rovers of late.
I'll be honest with you folks, if Scotland do manage to lose this friendly tonight, expect Stark to blame the pitch. It's not of the greatest quality - hardly surprising considering a rugby union was played on this less than 72 hours ago. Ho hum.
Spoke too soon didn't I? Mario Mutsch has his first opportunity to take on the Scotland defence which looks a little uncertain before the ball eventually trickles through to Gilks.
And an early chance for a decent cross for Kris Commons but...err... it isn't. He plants the ball straight into the hands of a grateful (and rather Howard Webb resembling) Joubert.
Scotland starting nicely, spraying the passes around the back, with admittedly very little pressure on the ball from the home side..
KICK OFF: Scotland get us underway at the Stade Josy Barthel. As Ladbrokes would say, GAME ON.
Completely away from the football for a brief second, but the Luxembourg national anthem is interminably dull. Sounds like a drunken walk from the pub on a Friday night. Still, whatever tugs your squirrel I guess...
Still, these friendly matches are right in the middle of important domestic ties. Whose daft idea was this then? Eh?
And Blackpool's Matthew Gilks starts between the sticks for the first time, as Stark has to deal with nine drop outs from the squad..
Inverness Caledonian Thistle's Andrew Shinnie tonight makes history - becoming the first Cally player to pull on the Scotland jersey. Many congratulations to the lad.
So, we are less than five minutes away from Billy Stark's first match as Scotland caretaker boss... And he's up against the 144th best side in the WORLD. No pressure Billy, mate.
Gilks; Whittaker, Hanley, Berra, Dixon; Naismith, D Fletcher, Shinnie, Mulgrew; Miller, Rhodes Subs: Bell (GK) Barr, Webster, Commons, Davidson, Kelly, Griffiths, Samson (GK)
And where would the match be without Scotland?!
Joubert; Schnell, Blaise, Bukvic, Janisch; Leweck, Gerson, Payal, Bettmer, Mutsch; Deville Subs: Oberweis (GK) Malget, Hoffmann, Peters, Da Mota, Bensi, Laterza, Philipps, Jans, Turpel
Team news I hear you cry?! Oh, go on then.... Luxembourg first, yes?
Good evening one and all and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play commentary of the glorious friendly between Luxembourg and Scotland. I am and will be for the next 90 minutes, Andy Sixsmith. Yowsa.
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