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Hero Hardie spares sloppy Scotland's blushes

Scotland 1

Hardie (p) 90+3'

Latvia 1

Uldrikis 45+6'
  • Friday, 10 November 2017
  • McDairmid Park
  • Under 21´s
  • UEFA Championship Qualifying Round

Andrew Creegan

Andrew Creegan | YFS East Region Multimedia Journalist
Articles by Author | Contact Author

An injury time penalty from Ryan Hardie spared Scotland’s blushed as they were held to a draw by 10-man Latvia at McDairmid Park. Roberts Uldrikis headed the visitors ahead in first half injury time, and they were reduced to 10-man when Ingars Stuglis cleaned out Chris Cadden midway through the first half. But Hardie showed nerves of steel to convert the late penalty that takes Scotland one point clear of the Netherlands in Group Four with a game in hand.
There were two changes to the Scotland side that won 2-0 against Latvia a month ago. Captain Oli Burke dropped out completely, and Dom Thomas was on the bench. Aberdeen’s Scott Wright and Barnsley’s Stevie Mallan came into the side, with John Souttar taking the armband.
Lewis Morgan’s effort brought a save out of Kristaps Zommers after two early corners were dealt with by the Latvian rear-guard. Oli McBurnie turned Morgan’s cutback into Scott Wright’s path, but the Aberdeen man mishit the shot, and Latvia cleared.
Morgan was the architect of the Scot’s next chance after 25 minutes, when he set up McBurnie with a clever back heel on the edge of the box, but Kriss Karklins got a foot to the striker’s shot before it could cause any problems for Zommers.
Floodlight failure meant a prolonged break in play, but Scotland continued pressing forward when the light returned. Stevie Mallan fizzed an effort wide from 25 yards. Liam Smith sent in a tantalising ball from the right, but an unmarked Wright hesitated, and the ball went out for a goal kick.
McBurnie did well to power his way into the box and bring a smart save out of Zommers. The resulting corner saw Scott McKenna enter the book for a foul on Ingars Stuglis. It was the second time that McKenna had headed the Latvian rather than the ball.
Despite offering little of an attacking threat, Latvia took the lead in the sixth minute of added on time, when Raivis Jurkovis headed against the crossbar, leaving the unmarked Roberts Uldrikis the simple task of heading into an empty net, despite the best efforts of Ryan Fulton.
  • Half Time:
  • Scotland
  • 0-1
  • Latvia
McBurnie had the first chance of the second period seconds after the restart, but his stabbed effort was easily gathered by Zommers. Wright fired over from the edge of the box not long after.
Vladislavs Sorokins was the first Latvian shown a yellow for a heavy challenge on Chris Cadden. The resulting free kick eventually made its way out to Wright on the left, and his cross was met by McBurnie, whose flicked effort was acrobatically tipped around the post by Zommers.
A nasty challenge on Wright and the following altercation saw both McBurnie and Andrejs Cignaks enter the book. Mallan took the resulting free kick, and many of the 1,449 people in attendance thought they’d seen the equaliser when the top of the net rippled, but the ball had gone the wrong side of the crossbar from the Scot’s point of view.
Ryan Hardie replaced Liam Smith after 64 minutes, and nearly produced the equaliser with his first touch, but his snap shot was kept out by Zommers.
Latvia were reduced to 10 men when Stuglis scythed down Cadden off the ball. To call this hot headed would be a major understatement.
Substitute Hardie went close again after 70 minutes when his shot from 20 yards went narrowly wide of the mark. Morgan shot wide from the edge of the box as the Scots continued to search for a leveller.
Greg Taylor stung Zommers palms with a stinging strike from 25 yards, but nobody in dark blue could capitalise on the rebound. Wright inadvertently set up Hardie inside the box seconds later, but he lashed the ball over from 15 yards.
Mallan fired over from distance as the match entered injury time. In injury time, the Scots were handed a life line when Kristaps Liepa was penalised for a pull on McKenna. Hardie stepped up, and drilled the ball low into the bottom right corner.
There was nearly time for a winner when Cadden teed up Mallan, but he shot wide from the edge of the box.
  • Full Time:
  • Scotland
  • 1-1
  • Latvia


1. Ryan Fulton
2. Liam Smith/BR> 3. Greg Taylor
4. John Souttar
5. Scott McKenna
8. Oli McBurnie
9. Ryan Hardie
10. Lewis Morgan
11. Scott Wright
12. John Ruddy
13. Ryan Williamson
14. Stephen Mallan
15. Dom Thomas
16. Greg Docherty
17. Chris Cadden
19. Theo Archibald
20. Ross McCrorie
22. Allan Campbell
12. Kristaps Zommers
1. Vladislavs Kurakins
2. Vladislavs Sorokins
3. Viktors Litvinskis
4. Kristers Gulbis
5. Antonjis Cernomordijs
6. Kriss Stuglis
7. Ingars Stuglis
8. Andrejs Ciganiks
11. Nikita Ivanovs
13. Raivis Jurkovskis
14. Kristaps Liepa
16. Andris Krustanis
17. Roberts Uldrikis
18. Martins Kigurs
19. Eduards Emsis
21. Danilis Hvoinickis
22. Davis Sandis Strods
Star Player
Ryan Hardie - The substitute nearly scored with his first touch, and looked a threat when he was introduced. Got the goal that stopped Scotland crashing to a disappointing defeat.
Kristaps Zommers - Made a couple of really good stops and went the right way at the penalty. Kept Scotland at bay for most of the match and nearly helped his side to a famous win.
Magic Moment
Hardie's Goal - The substitute made no mistake when it mattered, and his first goal of the campaign ensures that Scotland's qualification hopes are intact.
Uldrikis' Goal - Not a pretty goal, but the big striker looked like he might have stolen his side all three points for most of the match.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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