Ikechi Anya’s first-half strike gave battling Scotland a 1-0 friendly win over Czech Republic at the Generali Arena in Prague.
The home side had hit the frame of the goal before the Watford winger raced on to a Ross McCormack pass in the 10th minute to drive low past keeper Tomas Koubek.
The Czechs fought back fiercely and Scotland keeper Allan McGregor was peppered with attempts on goal but managed to keep the home side at bay with a string of saves in the first half with his defence helping out after the break to keep the home side out.
It was a mostly backs-to-the-wall performance by Gordon Strachan’s side but as a first step to rebuilding for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers which begin later in the year, it will be good enough for the national team boss and the Tartan Army.
Fulham forward Ross McCormack, left out of the original squad but then drafted in as a late replacement for the injured Steven Naismith, was asked to lead the line supported from wide by Robert Snodgrass, back in the side after recovering from a long-term knee injury, and Ikechi Anya.
The first scare for the visitors came in the eighth minute when defender Christophe Berra fouled Vladimir Darida 25 yards out. Borek Dockal curled a wonderful free-kick against the bar with Allan McGregor beaten and David Limbersky’s header from the rebound was heading for the opposite side of the goal before the Scotland keeper clawed it away for a corner.
Moments later, from out of the blue, McCormack sent Anya racing clear at the other end and the Watford winger drilled his shot low past Koubek, making his first start, to give the Scots an unlikely lead. The Czech Republic responded fiercely and kept pressurising the Scots throughout but Strachan’s side held out fora morale-boosting win.
Koubek,Kaderabek,Sivok,Kadlec,Limbersky, Vacek (Marecek 78),Darida (Rada 87),Sural (Pudil 78), Frydek (Skalak 46),Dockal (Kolar 65),Necid (Vydra 65). Subs Not Used: Vaclik,Gebre Selassie,Brabec,Suchy,Krejci,Hruska. Booked: Limbersky,Skalak.
McGregor,Hutton,Russell Martin,Berra, Robertson (Phillips 58),Snodgrass,Mulgrew,Darren Fletcher, McLean (Bannan 58),Anya (Caddis 86),McCormack (Watt 78). Subs Not Used: Bain,Greer,McDonald. Goals: Anya 10.
Paul McLaughlin (Ireland)