Lawrence Shankland’s last-gasp leveller rescues point for Scotland in Georgia



Posted Friday, November 17, 2023 by PA

Lawrence Shankland’s last-gasp leveller rescues point for Scotland in Georgia

Lawrence Shankland headed a stoppage-time equaliser as Scotland averted more torment in Tbilisi with a 2-2 draw against Georgia.

The Hearts striker was a late call-up for the injured Che Adams and seized his chance when he headed home fellow substitute Stuart Armstrong’s cross two minutes into added time.

Scott McTominay earlier took his Euro 2024 qualifying campaign tally to seven goals when he cancelled out the first of two strikes from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

The Napoli winger proved a threat all night, but Scotland contributed to their own problems with a slack first 45 minutes.

McTominay drilled home from 20 yards four minutes after the restart and, after quickly falling behind again, Scotland finished strongly to prevent a fourth consecutive defeat in Clarke’s 50th game in charge.

Scotland had lost on their two previous visits to the Boris Paichadze stadium, defeats which proved very costly in otherwise promising attempts to qualify for the European Championships of 2008 and 2016.

And, while Clarke’s side had booked their trip to Germany with two games to spare, they were looking to boost their chances of sealing a place among the pot two seeds for next month’s draw.

Lawrence Shankland’s last-gasp leveller rescues point for Scotland in Georgia
Zander Clark made his competitive debut in the Scotland goal (Tamuna Kulumbegashvili/AP).

Georgia, who had only lost four of their previous 20 games, also had plenty to play for given they will be in the play-offs in March courtesy of their Nations League performances, and a crowd of 44,595 plus some needle on the pitch gave the game a competitive edge.

With Angus Gunn injured, Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark got the nod to start ahead of Motherwell’s Liam Kelly for his competitive international debut.

Scotland started with a back four amid the absence of Kieran Tierney, while the likes of Andy Robertson, Aaron Hickey and Grant Hanley were also missing.

There were early signs that Scotland were not quite at it, from the moment Scott McKenna launched the ball out of play from the kick-off.

Lawrence Shankland’s last-gasp leveller rescues point for Scotland in Georgia
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia scored twice for Georgia (Tamuna Kulumbegashvili/AP).

Ryan Christie then scuppered a promising break by delaying and then over-hitting a pass outside to Callum McGregor.

Billy Gilmour set up McTominay with a clever low corner, but the Manchester United midfielder fired over first time.

Clark made his first save 13 minutes in when he gathered Giorgi Chakvetadze’s long-range drive but he was beaten two minutes later.

Greg Taylor failed to cut out a cross-field pass and wing-back Otar Kakabadze delivered a low first-time cross which Kvaratskhelia swept inside the near post after sliding in just ahead of Ryan Porteous.

Clark soon rescued Scotland with a good parry from Levan Shengelia after a poor pass from Lyndon Dykes, who atoned by blocking the subsequent shot.

Dykes headed off target from Gilmour’s free-kick as Scotland failed to trouble the home goalkeeper in the first half.

Too many passes were going astray and Scotland struggled to produce a telling delivery from several corners and crosses from the right flank.

Half-time changes seemed inevitable and Lewis Ferguson and Kenny McLean came on for Gilmour and Christie.

McLean was soon involved in the first equaliser. The Norwich midfielder collected Taylor’s pass and set up McTominay, whose strike seemed to wrongfoot the home keeper at his near post.

Clark made another good stop to deny Shengelia, this time from a free-kick.

Lawrence Shankland’s last-gasp leveller rescues point for Scotland in Georgia
Lawrence Shankland, centre, rescued a point for Scotland at the death (Tamuna Kulumbegashvili/AP).

But Georgia kept up the pressure and Kvaratskhelia restored their lead in the 57th minute when he cut inside Nathan Patterson and drilled into the far corner.

Dykes soon thought he had levelled with a near-post header from Patterson’s corner, but Giorgi Mamardashvili produced a brilliant diving save on the line.

Scotland continued to press, although most of their efforts were coming from long range.

Ferguson saw a header saved before Shankland rose to head into the top corner.

Clark put the seal on a satisfying night when he made a near-post stop in the dying seconds.

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