Scots recover to beat makeshift Czechs

Ryan Christie scores a penalty for Scotland against Czech Republic
Ryan Christie’s third international goal proved to be Scotland’s winner

Scotland came from behind to beat a makeshift Czech Republic and go top of their Nations League group.

The Czechs, with a whole new squad after the players who beat Slovakia last week entered quarantine, took the lead through Jakub Pesek.

Lyndon Dykes marked his second Scotland appearance with his first international goal to level.

And Ryan Christie scored his second penalty in two games for the winner after Andy Robertson had been fouled.

But Czech Republic came close to levelling with Marek Havlik and Antonin Rusek hitting the frame of the goal.

Steve Clarke’s Scots, who drew at home to Israel on Friday, lead Czech Republic by a point and are unbeaten in five matches going into next month’s European Championship play-off semi-final against Israel.

The preamble to the match had been dominated by the Czechs having to put their original squad into isolation after two players were in contact with a backroom staff member who had tested positive for Covid-19.

The Scots, showing five changes after last week’s 1-1 draw, were wasteful in possession in the opening stages and the hosts’ early enthusiasm gave them them the impetus to capitalise.

Kenny McLean was dispossessed and Stanislav Tecl’s pass split the visiting defence as Pesek sprung the offside trap to finish.

Pesek – one of nine debutants selected by stand-in coach David Holoubek – tested David Marshall from long range moments later.

Nations League Group B2

It took Clarke’s side until the 24th minute to test Ales Mandous with Liam Palmer’s low effort and Ryan Christie’s follow-up kept out by the goalkeeper.

That gave the Scots some momentum and Palmer’s intelligent ball was diverted high into the net by the outstretched foot of Dykes. Relief more than joy descended on the players as they celebrated.

Still the Czechs were a threat and Adam Janos forced Marshall to touch a low 25-yard drive wide.

Captain Robertson was felled by Tomas Malinsky early in the second period and Christie alternated from Friday’s spot-kick by going to the goalkeeper’s left to convert.

But Scotland had more nervous moments as the inexperienced hosts finished strongly. Havlik went close with a bending free-kick, Tecl fired wide with the goal gaping after Marshall had parried Pesek’s shot and substitute Rusek’s header bounced off the upright.

What did we learn?

A 3-5-1-1 formation was not a rousing success for Scotland on Friday and for the opening 20 minutes in Olomouc its popularity amongst the Tartan Army fans watching on television would certainly have been on the wane.

However, once full-backs Palmer and Robertson started receiving the ball in advanced positions, Scotland looked more threatening, though Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay again looked uncomfortable playing on the right of the back three.

Whether to persist with the system is a poser for Clarke going into next month’s crucial match against Israel, who drew at home with Slovakia in Monday’s other Group B2 fixture.

Australian-born Dykes is proving to be a real find after he elected to play for the country of his parents’ birth while Christie’s confidence at international level continues to grow.

What did they say?

Scotland forward Lyndon Dykes on Sky Sports: “It was really good, it’s good for a striker to get off the mark. It was good to contribute to the 2-1 win.

“It was a tough game, it was hard conditions with what happened before the game but in the end, we got the three points. We always just came in expecting the best. We didn’t look at the team any different.”

Scotland captain Andy Robertson on Sky Sports: “Falling behind, we knew they were going to be full character. They’re obviously proud to represent their country. It was far from ideal for them but it wasn’t ideal for us.

“A really good defensive display in the last 10 minutes. Three points, we’re top of the group and we can’t complain. We were probably on a hiding to nothing. It’s a new system under this manager. Some people expect it just to click overnight but it doesn’t happen like that.”

What’s next?

Scotland host Israel on 8 October, with the winner progressing to face Norway or Serbia in the European Championship play-off finals. The Scots’ next two Nations League matches are at home to Slovakia and Czech Republic on 11 and 14 October.

The Czechs, who have qualified for next summer’s Euros, have a friendly in Cyprus then visit Israel before they next play Scotland.

Match stats

  • Ryan Christie has provided three goals and five assists in his past eight Scotland appearances;
  • The Scots did not win a single corner in Olomouc;
  • Scotland have not kept a clean sheet in their past four matches;
  • The Scots have won their past two meetings with Czech Republic, both away from home. They had lost their previous five games with the Czechs;
  • Scotland have won consecutive games against Czech Republic or Czechoslovakia for the first time since 1937;
  • Steve Clarke is the first Scotland manager to win successive away games since Gordon Strachan in March 2016.


Czech Rep

  • 23Mandous
  • 3Holes
  • 4Hubnik
  • 15Jemelka
  • 21Zeleny
  • 6JanosBooked at 90mins
  • 20HavlikSubstituted forRusekat 81′minutes
  • 22MalinskyBooked at 51mins
  • 17BudinskySubstituted forBreiteat 55′minutes
  • 8PesekSubstituted forPotocnyat 76′minutes
  • 11Tecl


  • 1Nguyen
  • 2Juroska
  • 5Karafiat
  • 7Breite
  • 9Karabec
  • 10Rusek
  • 12Holzer
  • 13Solil
  • 14Gabriel
  • 16Markovic
  • 18Sip
  • 19Potocny


  • 1Marshall
  • 5McKennaBooked at 79mins
  • 16Cooper
  • 2McTominay
  • 19McLean
  • 22PalmerBooked at 85mins
  • 18ArmstrongBooked at 48minsSubstituted forMcGregorat 80′minutes
  • 14FleckSubstituted forMcGinnat 71′minutes
  • 3RobertsonBooked at 64mins
  • 9DykesSubstituted forPatersonat 67′minutes
  • 11Christie


  • 4Jack
  • 6Tierney
  • 7Forrest
  • 8McGinn
  • 10McGregor
  • 12McLaughlin
  • 13Paterson
  • 15Gallagher
  • 17Burke
  • 20O’Donnell
  • 21McCrorie
  • 23Taylor

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Czech Republic 1, Scotland 2.

  2. Second Half ends, Czech Republic 1, Scotland 2.

  3. Attempt missed. Vaclav Jemelka (Czech Republic) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Roman Potocny with a cross following a corner.

  4. Corner, Czech Republic. Conceded by Scott McTominay.

  5. Ryan Christie (Scotland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Foul by Antonin Rusek (Czech Republic).

  7. Adam Janos (Czech Republic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Ryan Christie (Scotland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  9. Foul by Adam Janos (Czech Republic).

  10. John McGinn (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Foul by Jaroslav Zeleny (Czech Republic).

  12. Attempt blocked. Adam Janos (Czech Republic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Radim Breite.

  13. Antonin Rusek (Czech Republic) hits the right post with a header from the left side of the six yard box. Assisted by Roman Potocny with a cross following a corner.

  14. Corner, Czech Republic. Conceded by Liam Cooper.

  15. Foul by Callum McGregor (Scotland).

  16. Antonin Rusek (Czech Republic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  17. Foul by Callum McGregor (Scotland).

  18. Radim Breite (Czech Republic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Offside, Czech Republic. Tomás Holes tries a through ball, but Stanislav Tecl is caught offside.

  20. Corner, Czech Republic. Conceded by Callum Paterson.


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