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Scotland shrug off rain delay to close in on Euro 2024

Scotland were not blown off course by a near two-hour interruption caused by heavy rain as they maintained their 100 percent record in Euro 2024 qualifying with a 2-0 win over Georgia on Tuesday.

Callum McGregor and Scott McTominay scored the goals to put Scotland on the brink of booking their place in Germany next year after winning the first four qualifiers of a campaign for the first time.

Steve Clarke’s men move eight points clear of Georgia and Norway in Group A and nine above Spain, who have two games in hand, with the top two progressing to the Euros.

The game started in farcical conditions after a downpour in the hour before kick-off.

Scotland took a sixth-minute lead when McGregor fired home a loose ball from a corner after both managers had pleaded with Hungarian referee Istvan Vad to stop proceedings.

Before the match could restart after the goal, the referee consulted the teams and took the players off the pitch.

A number of pitch inspections then took place amid reports that Georgia wanted the game postponed.

However, play eventually resumed at 9:35 pm (2035 GMT).

‘Right decision’

“Before I go on to praise my players, I’ve got to praise the crowd. They stayed and got behind the team. The crowd were magnificent,” said Clarke.

“There was a spell where it looked like the game was going to be called off but you need the players to always be thinking ‘it is going to happen.’

“Eventually it did and the pitch was fine towards the end. It was the right decision.”

Scotland adapted to the circumstances better as Georgia’s 10-game unbeaten run in competitive games came to an end.

John McGinn should have doubled the hosts’ lead and McTominay was denied by a brilliant save from Valencia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili before half-time.

McTominay’s scoring streak at international level did continue two minutes into the second half as the Manchester United midfielder swept home a brilliant shot from outside the box for his fifth goal in his last four games for Scotland.

“At the start we were all saying we couldn’t play on the pitch,” said McTominay. “But we kept our heads and kept to the game plan and we did it really well.”

Georgia turned to Khvicha Kvaratskhelia for inspiration but the Napoli star blasted a stoppage-time penalty over the bar to blow any chance of a late fightback by the visitors.

After failing to reach any major tournament between 1998 and 2021, Scotland are now well on course to appear at a second consecutive European Championship.

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