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Key Events

90' + 1'
L. Gambin
Red Card
89'
M. Mifsud
A. Effiong
86'
I. Anya
M. Ritchie
84'
R. Snodgrass
Goal
79'
R. Camilleri
R. Scicluna
78'
S. Fletcher
Goal
68'
S. Fletcher
C. Martin
66'
R. Briffa
A. Schembri
66'
J. Forrest
O. Burke
61'
A. Effiong
Yellow Card
61'
R. Snodgrass
Penalty Goal
60'
J. Caruana
Red Card
56'
P. Fenech
Yellow Card
53'
M. Ritchie
Assist
53'
R. Snodgrass
Goal
13'
G. Sciberras
Assist
13'
A. Effiong
Goal
9'
G. Hanley
Assist
9'
R. Snodgrass
Goal
3
2
3
0

Stats

Possession
% %
3
10
Shots Off Target
Shots On Target 1 7
Total Passes 281 608

Commentary

That's all for our live coverage from Malta, thanks for following along! Goodbye.
Robert Snodgrass netted at hat-trick on his return to the national side as the Tartan Amry cruise to victory to open up their qualifying campaign against the nine men of Malta. Chris Martin and Steven Fletcher got in on the act as well for Scotland, who top Group F after the first round of matches.
90' + 3' FULL-TIME: MALTA 1-5 SCOTLAND
L. Gambin
Red Card
Malta
90' + 1' MALTA DOWN TO NINE! Call it retaliation, call it frustration, call it whatever you want, but Gambin kicks out senselessly at Snodgrass and the referee is rightfully having none of it as Gambin is given his marching orders! It's a straight red for the winger!
90' There will be three minutes added on at the end of this match.
M. Mifsud
A. Effiong
Malta
89' Michael Mifsud replaces Effiong.
88' STAT: Scotland have now scored 15 goals in their five matches against Malta all-time, averaging three per game.
I. Anya
M. Ritchie
Scotland
86' A final change for the visitors as Ikechi Anya replaces Ritchie.
R. Snodgrass
Goal
Scotland
84' THERE'S THE HAT-TRICK! Fletcher finds himself behind the defence on the end of a delightful throughball. His cheeky chip rattles off the bar, but there's Snodgrass to follow it up and bundle home the rebound for his third goal of the night on his return to the national side!
83' Not quite! Eager for a hat-trick is Snodgrass, but he can't quite find the mark from 25 yards. Scotland in cruise control here as their qualifying campaign gets off to a flier.
81' Well it started well for Scotland, then looked a bit ominous when Malta equalised, but this second half performance from the visitors has been nothing short of flawless. They will sit atop the group at the end of round one, with the potential to keep their place at the perch following a home date with Malta on matchday two.
R. Camilleri
R. Scicluna
Malta
79' Second change for Malta sees Ryan Camilleri replace Scicluna.
S. Fletcher
Goal
Scotland
78' SCOTTISH MASTERCLASS IN MALTA! It's another Ritchie delivery that sets up the chance, though this comes via the aid of a slight deflection as well, but the cross finds its way to Steven Fletcher in the centre who powers a header beyond the keeper's reach.
76' STAT: Victory tonight would give Scotland three successive World Cup qualifying victories for the first time since they won five in a row between 1997-2000.
74' The tempo has fizzled out and play comes to full stop as the training staff comes out to take a look at Scicluna. This is a welcome break for Malta more than anything.
72' Malta fading in a big was as we get into these final 20 minutes. They put up quite a fight, but they've come undone in this second half and are finding it awfully difficult to keep up with just 10 men.
70' Scotland in complete control now, making the most of the extra man as they play keep away from their opponents and run this clock down. It's a big three points for them, but perhaps still an opportunity to get an early goal differential boost.
S. Fletcher
C. Martin
Scotland
68' Scotland's second change sees Steven Fletcher replace Chris Martin.
R. Briffa
A. Schembri
Malta
66' Roderick Briffa replaces Schembri for Malta.
J. Forrest
O. Burke
Scotland
66' Scotland make their first change of the night as James Forrest replaces impressive youngster Oliver Burke.
65' STAT: Malta have never won a World Cup qualifying match on home turf, in 46 tries (D8, L38).
63' It's incredibly harsh on Malta, however. The decision from the referee was a poor one, unquestionably. Caruana didn't even appear to make contact as he slid into the back of Martin in the area, and the striker never had a look at the referee. The last thin on his mind was penalty, but the referee apparently saw something no one else did and he sent off the right-back!
A. Effiong
Yellow Card
Malta
61' Effiong is booked for dissent.
R. Snodgrass
Penalty Goal
Scotland
61' SNODGRASS CONVERTS! Three goals and three points surely now for Scotland! On his return to the national team, Snodgrass has his brace, slotting home confidently from the spot.
J. Caruana
Red Card
Malta
60' MALTA DOWN TO 10 MEN! And a penalty to boot! Well there wasn't even a hint of an appeal there from Scotland following the chance, but the referee blew his whistle and then out of nowhere produced a red, much to the shock of everyone involved in the play!
58' Bannan has been excellent tonight for Scotland. He's not been flashy by any means, but has done an excellent job of always making himself an option in midfield. He's great at finding these little pockets of space, and he's seeing the ball an awful lot as a result.
P. Fenech
Yellow Card
Malta
56' Fenech picks up the first booking of the night as frustration starts to set in for Malta.
53' SCOTLAND BACK IN FRONT! It can't be stressed enough just how stunning the quality of these deliveries from Ritchie have been tonight. The winger sends another peach of a cross in from the left that curls beyond the defence and into the feet of Martin who slots it calmly into the empty net!
M. Ritchie
Assist
Scotland
53' Ritchie provides the assist for this one, as he's done for so many chances tonight.
R. Snodgrass
Goal
Scotland
53' Goal Robert Snodgrass
52' Good, driven corner from Ritchie finds the head of Bannan, but the midfielder can't get the desired direction behind his header. Scotland knocking on the door but they still can't find that go-ahead goal.
50' He's always looking for it! Burke sprints to get on the end of a ball over the top, then goes down in a heap inside the area. There was minimal, if any, contact from Zerafa, and the referee sees it accordingly.
48' Chris Martin shows his strength to turn his marker and let fly from 20 yards, but can't find the target. Malta come back the other way and Marshall produces a stunning save to deny Scotland from falling behind, although the offside flag rendered it moot.
46' Back underway in Malta!
Alfred Effiong equalised for Malta less than five minutes after Robert Snodgrass put Scotland ahead early on, as the teams head scoreless into the interval in Ta' Qali. The visitors should have snatched the lead back on a couple of occasions throughout the final 20 minutes of the half, but they were held at bay by a stubborn Maltese side, leaving it perfectly poised for the second half.
45' + 1' HALF-TIME: MALTA 1-1 SCOTLAND.
45' There will be just one minute added on at the end of this first half.
43' Malta are fading a bit under the pressure, and frustration is setting in. Fenech concedes a free-kick with a foul 30 yards from goal, but the ensuing set-piece comes to nothing for Scotland as Paterson's header at the far post goes begging.
41' JUST WIDE! Great stuff from Robertson, who has been one of Scotland's brightest in this first half. The full-back makes a delightful run into the area and the ball falls kindly for him after his initial cross is blocked. He wraps his foot around the follow-up and sends it towards the far post, but it drifts agonisingly wide!
39' Scotland have firmly taken control back in this match, dominating possession over the last five or 10 minutes. Malta are dropping deeper and deeper in defence as they look to see this scoreline through to half-time.
37' HAS TO BE BETTER! Another stunning delivery into the area from Ritchie, this from a free-kick, serves up Hanley with a golden opportunity, but the defender doesn't get enough on his header to find the target! He tried to send a glancing effort towards the far post when he really should have opted to go for power.
35' Chris Martin has been poor as the lone striker. He hasn't got on the end of a chance, nor is he making himself an option in the centre. Unless he can figure it out over the next 10 minutes, it wouldn't be surprising to see him withdrawn at the break. Steven Fletcher and Steven Naismith will be licking their chops at the chance to get at this Malta defence.
33' Nothing bad can be said about the quality of Ritchie's deliveries in from the left, but they aren't being attacked accordingly by Scotland. Snodgrass is having a similar effect, but he's found himself all over the place in the final third, given the freedom to roam about in attack by manager Gordon Strachan.
31' STAT: Scotland have won each of their last two World Cup qualifiers away from home (Croatia and Macedonia), following a string of five successive defeats.
29' Lithuania and Slovenia's draw earlier today, and Slovakia's defeat to England, has already given Scotland an opportunity to grab a hold of second place in the group, and it's one they absolutely have to take. They can ill-afford to slip up against Malta if they want to have their qualifying bid taken seriously.
27' Both sides are showing no hesitation is sending bodies forward in search of the go-ahead goal, especially with each team looking rather vulnerable at the back. Both managers are incredibly active on the touchline, sensing this as such a vital period in the match.
25' OFFSIDE! Well who would have expected this?! End-to-end action here in Malta! The hosts respond with an incisive-passing move to send Effiong clean through behind the defence, but the striker just got the timing wrong as the flag is raised for offside!
23' HAS TO BE IN! It was harder for Snodgrass to miss than to score there, but the midfielder puts a header straight at the keeper from atop the six-yard box, on the end of a stunning delivery in from the right by Burke!
21' STAT: Malta have lost seven successive World Cup qualifying matches at home, dating back to a 0-0 draw with Albania in February 2009.
19' Scotland seem shell-shocked. They're almost at a loss, clearly not expecting this sort of response from Malta. Effiong is full of running up top, and his hold-up play forces Hanley into committing a foul, which wins the hosts a free-kick in an inviting position.
17' Matla are beaming with confidence following their unlikely equaliser. They're controlling the tempo now and asking all the questions as they get forward and after this Scotland defence. Stunning turn of events here after Scotland appeared to be so firmly in control through the first 10 minutes.
15' Strachan will be pulling his hair out at that equaliser. Scotland started so well, looking like they meant business, but they switched off momentarily after scoring and have been punished dearly.
G. Sciberras
Assist
Malta
13' The skipper Sciberras leading by example with that stunning ball over the top to provide the assist.
A. Effiong
Goal
Malta
13' MALTA EQUALISE! INCREDIBLE! Sciberras floats a delightful ball over the top for Effiong, who gets inside his marker to get on the end of it and send an emphatic header into the top corner with Marshall rooted to his spot! It's their first attack of the night, and it results in a goal!
11' STAT: Scotland have won all four of their previous meetings with Malta all-time, but they have not met since a 3-2 friendly win in May 1997.
G. Hanley
Assist
Scotland
9' Hanley provided the assist.
R. Snodgrass
Goal
Scotland
9' STUNNER! What a start to a qualifying campaign that is for Snodgrass and Scotland! The Hull City midfielder places a cross-cum-shot over the reach of the keeper and just under the bar at the far corner to give the visitors the lead! Brilliant strike!
7' SENSATIONAL RUN! Robertson sprints through the heart of the Malta team like a bolt of lightning to get on the end of Ritchie's throughball and in on goal. The keeper comes off his line to close down the angle, however, forcing the left-back to settle for a corner.
5' Possession remains almost entirely with the visitors, while Malta are keeping plenty of bodies behind the ball. Snodgrass, who hasn't played in some time for Scotland as a result of injury, takes interest in a shooting chance from 25 yards, and it doesn't miss by much.
3' Scotland get off to a flying start here, which has to impress manager Gordon Strachan. They're immediately forward, asking questions of the Malta defence, looking to snag an early equaliser to ease the pressure on them.
1' Belatedly underway in Malta!
Malta have opted for experience at the back and youthfulness up front, with all-time leading scorer Michael Mifsud on the bench. It's up to 23-year-olds Ryan Sciculina and Luke Gambin, earning their fifth and fourth caps respectively, to flank striker Alfred Effiong.
Chris Martin leads the line tonight for Scotland, not Steven Naismith or Steven Fletcher. The Fulham striker is flanked by Matt Ritchie and teenager Oliver Burke, while Robert Snodgrass slots in behind him. Darren Fletcher captains the team in midfield in front of a rather youthful back-line which includes 21 and 22-year-old full-backs Callum Paterson and Andrew Robertson.
SUBS: Mifsud, Bonello, Failla, Farrugia, Muscat, Kristensen, Gatt Baldacchino, Briffa, Camilleri.
MALTA (4-3-3): Hogg; Caruana, Agius, Borg, Zerafa; Fenech, Schembri, Sciberras; Gambin, Scicluna, Effiong.
SUBS: S. Fletcher, Naismith, Anya, McGinn, Berra, Forrest, Hamilton, Morrison, McKay, Hutton, Gordon, Greer.
SCOTLAND (4-2-3-1): Marshall; Paterson, R. Martin, Hanley, Robertson, D. Fletcher, Bannan; Burke, Snodgrass, Ritchie, C. Martin.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Malta finished at the bottom of their qualification group for Euro 2016, a position they have become all-too familiar with, but they have shown signs of improvement. Pietro Ghedin’s side put up a real fight at home during the qualifying phase, losing just 1-0 to both Italy and Croatia.
Scotland had a tough draw in qualifying for Euro 2016, with Germany, Poland and Ireland ahead of them, but it will not get much easier with England, Slovakia and Slovenia to come in this stage, while fewer qualification spots are up for grabs, making this a must-win for them tonight.
Gordon Strachan knows his Scotland side need to improve if they are to reach their first major tournament since 1998, after disappointingly missing out on this summer’s European Championships.
Hello and welcome to live coverage from the National Stadium in Ta’ Qali as Scotland get their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign underway with a trip to Malta!
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