Billy Stark's side scraped a win against the part-timers thanks to two goals from Jordan Rhodes
• Self-hate special: The joys of supporting Scotland
Look at it this way: a win's a win's a win. And good news for caretaker boss Billy Stark, who is unlikely to get the job on a full-time basis, but will depart from the post with a 100% winning record. You can't ask for more than that, can you?
90 min: Murray Davidson comes on for Jordan Rhodes, who won't be following 1969's Colin Stein on Scotland's hat-trick roll of honour. Not tonight, anyway. One drought is over, though: Davidson is the first St Johnstone player to represent Scotland since 1932.
88 min: This is beginning to peter out now, which is I suppose the best Scotland can hope for given the way the second half has panned out. "Doesn't sound like Stark is making a great case to get the job permanently," surmises Simon McMahon. "Incidentally Azerbaijan, managed by Berti Vogts, are leading Northern Ireland 1-0 in their WC qualifier in Belfast. I hear Neil Warnock's available too."
86 min: Another free kick for Luxembourg in dangerous territory, out towards the left touchline. Peters curls the ball in, but Berra heads clear confidently. This is tense. Tense. Against Luxembourg. This is why we love Scotland, though, correct? "In Billy Stark look-a-like terms, I'll see your Carlos Puyol and raise you a Marouane Fellaini," writes Chris Thomson. "Or Leo Sayer circa 1976." Is there any other sort of Leo Sayer? Do we have to specify years?
85 min: Rhodes rises, ten yards out, and plants a header into the left-hand side of the net. It's not Scotland's first hat-trick since 1969, though, as he's a yard offside. Luxembourg go straight up the other end through Bensi, who sends a daisycutter towards the bottom left from 25 yards. Gilks smothers well, but for goodness sake.
84 min: Da Mota reaches the byline down the left in brilliantly direct fashion, and whizzes a superlative low ball straight through the Scottish six-yard area. One touch, and that was in. Scotland are really pushing their luck now.
81 min: Hanley clatters into the back of Bensi. The free kick's in Gerson territory, but this one goes clattering into a Scottish phizog, and the danger is gone. But Scotland are chancing their arm here, against a shower of part-timers and all. Shame, shame, shame.
78 min: Scotland win a corner down the left. Dixon wastes it. But the ball's soon coming back at Luxembourg, giving the full back a chance to send a better ball in second time round. He nearly finds the head of Berra, but the ball's cleared. On the edge of the area, Griffiths takes a skelp at goal, but his first-time effort isn't anywhere near the target.
77 min: If anyone's scoring here, it's the home side. Da Mota makes good down the left and swings a ball into the middle. Gilks claims easily, which is just as well because there weren't many white shirts back defending.
76 min: Laterza comes on for Leweck.
75 min: Scotland are achieving nothing whatsoever up front. This is now officially dismal.
73 min: Luxembourg are so close to equalising. Mutsch rampages down the left, through wide open spaces. He curls a cross onto the eyebrows of Bensi, racing into the area from the right. Bensi looks for the top left, and nearly finds it, Gilks doing his best to help the ball in with a hinges-for-wrists flap. The ball somehow squirms to the left of goal, for a futile corner. Oh Scotland!
71 min: Turpel comes on for Bettmer.
70 min: Shinnie's night is over, and he's replaced by another debutant in Griffiths.
68 min: Bensi is this close to breaking clear into the Scottish area down the middle, but Berra stands firm. Scotland are making a proper meal of this. It's a poor business.
67 min: Rhodes looked a good bet for Scotland's first hat-trick in 43 years, having scored his second goal on 23 minutes, but his team-mates aren't carving out many opportunities for him. He'll be quite within his rights to have the hot heat about this sorry state of affairs, if he doesn't get at least one more chance before the final whistle. Scotland have been poor since the restart.
65 min: Shinnie has been lively enough, and here he comes in from the left only to be upended at pace in the centre of the Luxembourg half. The resulting free kick is lumped fairly witlessly into the box, and easily cleared.
63 min: Still guessing the times, and I'm afraid you've no option but to give me a break. Deville is replaced by Bensi.
61 min: Da Mota motors (yeah, sorry) down the left, then breaks inside before laying off to Mutsch, who slashes an awfully ambitious, and awful, effort miles over the bar from distance. Still, a decent enough move by the home team. There's one goal in this game, and that's about right.
59 min: A real lull here. Scotland are enjoying plenty of the ball, but they're Liverpooling it."Gordon Strachan and Lionel Messi: separated at birth?" asks Sean Burke. Very possibly. You having mentioned Barcelona stars, I was thinking for a while that the young Billy Stark has a touch of the Carles Puyols about him, but my mind keeps drifting to Audrey from Coronation Street.
56 min: Naismith is bundled over just to the right of Luxembourg's D. Dixon steps up to take the free kick, but no Gerson he, the ball clattering straight into some poor home defender's coupon, and away from danger.
55 min: Bukvic clatters into the back of Rhodes, Scotland's shining light. The free kick's looped into the home box, but easily mopped up. The Scots are looking light on ideas right now.
52 min: Da Mota comes on for Janisch, a forward for a defender. Luxembourg are up for this alright!
50 min: Rhodes and Naismith triangulate down the inside-right channel. Naismith breaks free into the area, but he's offside. Scotland have at least responded to the setback, which is something I suppose.
49 min: Mutsch swings a ball into the Scottish area from the left. Gilks claims well, albeit under some pressure from a couple of red shirts. Luxembourg are up for this.
47 min: Rhodes isn't taking this lying down, and scampers after a long ball down the inside-left channel. He's onside, but he's hauled back by the linesman. This could be an interesting half. Interesting's good, yes?
Kelly's first act, within seconds of the restart, is to concede a foul on the edge of his own area. Gerson steps up, as does the Brazilian within. He belts a beauty into the top-left corner, over the wall, beating Gilks all ends up. Hmm. Ah well, Scotland don't suit two-goal leads anyway.
A change for the home side, Peters coming on for Payal. And one for the Scots, Mulgrew making way for Kelly. Scotland get the ball rolling again. "Your assessment of Dixon is spot on, Scott," begins Simon McMahon, ensuring publication very early on, "as any fan of the world famous Dundee United FC will tell you. A superb attacking full-back with decent pace, a tremendous left foot and a great crosser of the ball. He is remembered fondly here and not just because we got him for nothing from our neighbours over the road. His cross from the half way line into the box and on to the head of Johnny Russell at Ibrox a couple of seasons ago was a thing of beauty."
Better times for Luxembourg. Here they are, winning the 1961 Eurovision Song Contest with 'Nous les amoureux'. The title translates as 'We, the lovers'. Sort of like that song by Pete Doherty, only better, and without the crack.
Incidentally, Jean-Claude Pascal, the gentleman behind Luxembourg's greatest hour, was in fact French, but let's not pull threads on this one.
And that's that for the half. There's only one Billy Stark, eh?
45 min: Dixon has been superb going forward, not so hot at the back. Mutsch, on the left, sends a low ball right across the park for Leweck, level with the right-hand post on the edge of the Scottish area. Dixon is nowhere near his man, allowing Leweck to get a shot away. Luckily for Scotland, it's weak and straight at Gilks. "Whilst we are on the subject of hat-tricks," begins David Walker, "I saw Joe Jordan even later in his career scoring a three against Kilmarnock in a pre-season friendly for Bristol City on Monday 8th August 1988. I know the date because I still have the photocopied team sheets handed out to everyone who went to Rugby Park that night. Which seems kind of quaint nowadays." Getting the team news five hours ahead of kick-off on Twitter - as sent out by the SFA earlier today - just isn't as exciting, is it? Chalk up another simple pleasure ruined by the internet!
43 min: Shinnie sends Dixon skittering clear down the left. Upon reaching the byline, the full back pulls the ball low into the area, but the invitation is spurned by both Miller and Rhodes, who are fannying around in something of a confused fashion. That's more like it.
41 min: Miller slaloms down the middle, then offloads to his right for Fletcher, who dinks a ball over what passes for Luxembourg's back line. Rhodes, ten yards out, shapes to hammer home, but the ball's slightly behind him, and Schnell can hoick out for a corner, from which nothing occurs.
38 min: Deville has a dig from long range. Scotland have taken to swanning around a bit. It doesn't suit them.
35 min: Bettmer is the latest in a long line of Luxembourg players to look for the top left from distance. Like all the others, he's off target.
33 min: This should have been three. Dixon, who has been excellent going forward at least, fizzes in another low cross from the left. Rhodes can't quite get the ball out from under his feet, and the chance is gone. The ball breaks to Miller, who miscontrols but manages to bundle the ball back to Rhodes, but the two-goal hero can't get an effort away from the edge of the box.
31 min: A lovely move by Scotland, with Miller breaking at speed down the centre of the pitch, leaving a few red shirts in his wake. He exchanges a one-two with Naismith and bursts clear into the area, but he's marginally offside. Also, his attempt to chip the ball over the advancing Joubert goes right down the keeper's throat.
30 min: I think we're on the half hour, though I have no timepieces to work with. It's still the first half, that much I know. Anyway, Scotland are in complete control. Just to repeat and reiterate, Scotland are in complete control. Scotland are in complete control. Scotland are in complete control.
27 min: A corner for Luxembourg, won after Whittaker clattered Mutsch as he skittered down the left. Schnell swings the ball in, but it's easily dealt with. Speaking of easily dealt with, here's Ian Burch with a jaunty tale from the more innocent days of association football: "I saw the mighty Joe Jordan lay out fellow Scot Doug Rougvie at Stamford Bridge when Joe was at the tail end of his career at Southampton. How anyone could look innocent with his set of gnashers I'm not sure, but Joe got away with it as Doug the thug was led unsteadily from the pitch minus a few teeth and with claret and his nose all over his face. I can only assume that the referee agreed with Joe that Doug had it coming and no doubt they were both right."
Scotland might not be much cop at the back, but this here Jordan Rhodes is a goalscorer! He hares after a long ball down the inside-right channel, and meets it on the byline. He pulls it back for Miller, who fires the ball into the six-yard box. Janisch attempts to clear, but the ball only breaks back to Rhodes, who had immediately made his way into the centre with the express intention of causing bother. And that's what he does, battering home the loose ball from six yards. Scotland's last hat-trick was by Colin Stein in 1969 against Cyprus: can Rhodes end this long drought? You wouldn't back against it.
21 min: Berra skids around the turf on his teeth and nipples, allowing Leweck to cut inside from the right and send a screamer in the vague direction of the top-left corner. It's wild and wide, but Scotland aren't inspiring confidence here. Then again, inspiring confidence isn't in Scotland's remit. It's not their job. Let's not be so needy.
20 min: Mulgrew sashays down the left, but his cross into the centre, where there are plenty of white shirts milling around with a view to sticking the nut on the ball, is woeful and Joubert claims.
17 min: Scotland want to watch themselves here. Gerson is afforded space, Luxembourg again finding joy down the right wing. His low cross should be cut out by Dixon, but the Huddersfield man fresh-air swipes. Berra sweeps up. Seconds later, Mutsch is looking for the top-left corner from the right-hand edge of the D. The ball sails wide of the target, but not by much, and if that was tight by the junction of post and crossbar, Gilks wasn't getting to it. Luxembourg, this is.
16 min: Schnell is allowed acres down the right. He cuts into the area, then curls a ball to the far post, where Mutsch heads down not altogether powerfully. But it's on target, and Gilks is required to get down at his right-hand post to smother.
14 min: Scotland are in total control at the moment. Always good to be able to say that, opposition notwithstanding. "The entry at 7.11pm was a joke, right?" splutters Simon McMahon. "I mean, Neil Warnock. NEIL WARNOCK ??!!!!?? Why not just get Mike Bassett instead?" For Christ's sake be quiet, McMahon! You'll be giving the SFA ideas.
Never mind, Jordan. Dixon tears down the left and sticks a cross into the six-yard box. Bukvic attempts to clear, but instead falls over, the ball hitting his arm and looping up, allowing Rhodes to head home from close range. The Scotland striker still makes quite a song-and-dance routine out of converting, heading against the left-hand post, and giving Joubert the chance to scoop out. But the ball's just over the line as it bounces off the woodwork, and the keeper uselessly palms the ball into the roof of the net anyway, so. What a start to the Stark era! Which doesn't sound like a particularly promising era, admittedly, but let's give the man a chance.
9 min: They've been doing very little, but they should have been a goal up. Blaise is way too blasé as he attempts to clear a ball that's been hoofed down the left wing by Naismith. The Luxembourg defender takes a fresh-air swipe, letting in Rhodes, who's one on one with keeper Joubert. Rhodes opens up his body, and sidefoots towards the bottom-right corner. Unfortunately, he miscues woefully and the ball sails towards the right-hand corner flag. Oh my word.
8 min: Fletcher looks to release Naismith down the inside-left channel, but the pass is way too heavy. Scotland are doing very little so far.
7 min: It's a really surreal atmosphere here, almost as though nobody cares how this pans out. That can't be the case, surely. "Surely, picking a player called 'Shinnie' can't be a good omen?" wonders Lou Roper, not unreasonably. "Should not the ICT midfielder be convinced to create a deed poll? And what sane person would accept the Scotland job?" Did you not read the bit about Neil Warno... actually, can we change the subject, please?
4 min: Of course I jest. I'm a cheap man. The home side launch the ball into the Scottish area, where Hanley attempts to clear in the style of John Terry - i.e. a diving header while hovering a mere couple of inches above the turf. The clearance clatters straight into the back of Dixon, but the Scots eventually hack clear. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
59 min: Still nothing much happening.
2 min: Nothing much going on so far. Scotland are seeing a lot of the ball, and doing nothing much with it. It's a bit like watching Liverpool, only without the expectation. Incidentally, a glitch in the system at Guardian Slums means I can't see the clock on the television screen - it's been cropped out - so keeping track of the time will be an inexact science. Apologies in advance for that.
Luxembourg get the ball rolling. Scotland have never let in a goal against this lot, in three previous meetings. You kind of wish I never told you that, right?
And it's national anthem time. Scotland, in their beautiful white away shirts with navy trim, line up for a rather depressed version of Flower of Scotland played by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Kazoo Quintet. Then the Quintet nearly conk out during a somnambulic, nay drugged, rendition of Ons Heemecht, the local rabble-rouser. The home team, in their red shirts, are polite enough not to fall asleep.
Anyway, this vacant manager's job. "I see Gordon Strachan has now said that he wants a club job (according to Radio Scotland)," reports Jim Douglas, perhaps the only person left in the country with 100% faith in reports transmitted by the BBC. "So he's out. That leaves us with Joe Jordan (sacked by Hearts) or Billy Stark (sacked by St Johnstone). Though I did hear that Neil Warnock has been backed down to 3-1 at one bookie [shudders at thought of El-Hadji Diouf as strikers coach]." Eh? Well there's a curveball. I'm guessing that particular bookie is some maverick independent and supporter of Leeds United - a team which has gone on a couple of dismal runs since Warnock took over at Elland Road, featuring 7-3 and 6-1 reverses at home - and who is trying to whip up some sort of media storm to wheech him out of the dooOH JESUS CHRIST HE'S 3-1 WITH CORAL!!! Well, I suppose it could be worse. Ally McCoist is still 50-1.
So we can't even pin Eurovision misery on Luxembourg. Oh Scotland!
Seeing we're on the subject of crooners from the Netherlands, any old excuse to post up this classic:
You can just picture the young gadabout rolling around the centre of Amsterdam at carouse o'clock, can't you? The likes of Jacques Brel and Scott Walker had nothing on this.
Luxembourg: Joubert, Schnell, Blaise, Bukvic, Janisch, Leweck, Gerson, Payal, Bettmer, Mutsch, Deville.
Subs: Oberweis, Malget, Hoffmann, Peters, Da Mota, Bensi, Laterza, Philipps, Jans, Turpel.
Scotland: Gilks, Dixon, Hanley, Berra, Whittaker, D Fletcher, Mulgrew, Shinnie, Naismith, Miller, Rhodes.
Subs: Samson, Webster, Barr, Davidson, Kelly, Bell, Griffiths.
Referee: we'll get back to you
The big news is the selection by caretaker boss Billy Stark of Inverness Caledonian Thistle midfielder Andrew Shinnie, who makes his debut. Shinnie has been rattling them in for the Caley Jags, who are fourth in the SPL (and would be second, ahead of Celtic, had their last two home games ended on the 89-minute mark). Six goals he's got this season already! A nation sits beside itself in hope.
Now, let's not patronise Luxembourg. As a footballing nation, they are not very good. They are useless.
Having said that, only one of the two countries playing here tonight has contested a quarter final in a major international tournament. There are no prizes on offer. Yes, it was Luxembourg, who made it to the last eight of Euro 64, beating the Netherlands 3-2 over two legs in the first round, then losing a quarter-final replay 1-0 to Denmark after home and away matches ended in a 5-5 aggregate draw. Oh Scotland!
On the flip side, Scotland have never scored nul points in the Eurovision Song Contest. Oh David Alexandre Winter! How could you!
Actually, that's not so bad. Probably never lost Burt Bacharach any sleep, but a half-decent torch song nonetheless. David Alexandre Winter was stitched up, and no mistake.
Anyway, kick off is at 7.15pm GMT, which is how they do things in the UK. Over at the Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg City, the match gets underway at 8.15pm CET. God speed, Scotland! And good luck, Luxembourg, right the wrongs for David Alexandre Winter.