Scotland 1-0 Estonia

Gordon Strachan's first match in charge of Scotland started with a deserved victory

Peep! Peep! That's it. Scotland have started Gordon Strachan's reign with a 1-0 win, and it's one that they fully deserved. It was far from a classic, but they showed enough - particularly in the first half before the Pittodrie pitch cut up - to suggest that Strachan's influence will be a positive one. Roll on Wales next month. Thanks for your emails - sorry I couldn't use them all. Best, Sean

90 min Miller scampers down the byline but his cross is mis-controlled by Snodgrass. We'll have three minutes of stoppage time.

88 min Not long to go now. "Sorry to bang on about this, Sean, but the only 'harsh reminder' for Rangers fans tonight is 'pay your taxes'," says Simon McMahon. "Their club failed to do so and went bust. End of. True Scots support the national side regardless of club loyalties."

86 min Scotland are sitting off slightly, happy to protect their lead. It doesn't look like costing them.

83 min Andy Webster gets a yellow card for stamping on the top of Luts' ankle. From the resulting free-kick, Berra fails to clear and Kams bams it wide of the post from around 10 yards. That was a chance, that.

80 min McGregor has barely been troubled all game but he's out very smartly to dive onto a cross that's skimming across his six-yard box. That's the sort of keeping that is rarely noticed but is hugely helpful to his defenders. "Nice to hear from Mr Dunne again," says Simon McMahon. "Hope he's 'hawrite!' after the football lesson his team got from the world famous Dundee United FC last Saturday." Gentleman, please.

78 min Snodgrass has a free-kick in danger territory but his side-foot shot loops feebly over. "Enjoying the mbm and scoreline," says Alistair Elder. "I checked the England team for tonight - there is another harsh reminder - no Rangers players at all. The Souness/Smith era was flooded with current/former England players - Butcher, Roberts, Wilkins, Francis, Gary Stevens, Trevor Steven, Hateley, Woods, Spackman, Sterland. On a cheery note, Strachan is a diamond and I am really happy the first game is at his other 'home' of Pittodrie." Don't think many would disagree Alistair.

77 min Another Scotland sub, their sixth - Naismith off, Kris Commons on for his 12th international cap.

75 min The game continues to go through the motions.

73 min: Estonia sub - Ojamaa off, Kams on. "Talking of the Glorious Glasgow Rangers, could it not be argued that Scotland's recent failures are appropriate karmic payback for the SFA's treatment of Scotland's biggest and most successful club?" says Ryan Dunne, throwing some hot oil on what has been a most sedate affair. "Scotland's two best recent managers were Rangers men, and that's aside from the glorious history of Souness, Gough, Goram et al! And yet the Tartan Fanni, er, *Army* (i.e. shortbread-tin tourists who follow football every four years or so/ diddy team hipsters) continue to have a strange and ultimately self-defeating hatred of Scotland's greatest-ever footballing entity. Sad."

71 min Vassiliev's free-kick scuttles along the penalty area and is well collected by McGregor. Scotland then fast-break - OK, break moderately quickly - and Mulgrew's stinger from an acute angle is palmed over the bar.

69 min Both sides don't seem too discontented with this scoreline and the football is reflecting that. Would be surprised if we saw more than one more goal in this game, if that, to be honest.

67 min: Another Scotland sub: Steven Fletcher off, Kenny Miller on.

65 min: "After your preamble, I feel I should mention Dundee United legends Dave Narey and Paul Sturrock, both of whom played for Scotland in the 1982 World Cup," says Simon McMahon. "Fellow United men Paul Hegarty, Eamon Bannon and Maurice Malpas also wore the jersey with distinction during the same decade, the golden age of the New Firm." Absolutely Simon. And your mention of David Narey gives me an excuse to show this.


64 min: Better from Scotland, who end the growing sense of drift when Naismith picks up a pass 30 yards out and, spotting no one is going to challenge him, tries a rasper which doesn't miss by much.

62 min: Scotland subs - Scott Brown and Charlie Adam off, James' Morrison and McArthur on.

60 min Estonia are having the odd moment where they enter the Scotland area, but they're not testing McGregor at all. They've only had one shot on target so far.

58 min Scotland still look the more likely team to score. They nearly did there, incidentally: Jordan Rhodes took down a long punt with some aplomb before turning and lashing a shot over the bar.

56 min Estonia's 19th *MBM Vidiprinter nineteenth* foul finally brings the game's first yellow card - although Kink was booked, I think, for giving the referee a piece of his mind.

54 min: Another Adam-Mulgrew free-kick combination, but this time it comes to nothing. Adam's inswinger was flicked on with his studs by straight into the keepers hands. Incidentally I should have Andres Oper was replaced by Jarmo Ahjupera at half-time.

52 min "Richard Marx? David Bowie? Eddie Grant? Mr Blobby?" suggests Alex Gemell on the topic of Kevin O'Callaghan's favourite singers. Not quite Alex. He goes for George Benson and Earth Wind & Fire.

50 min A Charlie Adam free-kick thuds into the first Estonian head, but the ball eventually comes to Naismith, who controls it neatly before playing in Snodgrass, whose first touch was a little too heavy.

48 min Estonia have started this half a little brighter, but this is a second-gear sort of game, with little flair or feistiness. Incidentally Scotland made two subs at half-time: Jordan Rhodes for Shaun Maloney and Robert Snodgrass on for Chris Burke.

We're off again! "Half a dozen or so former Rangers players in the Scotland team. Harsh reminder," sighs Alistair Elder. Can't disagree with that Alistair. "Saw something from a friend that Strachan was asked if he had given brown the armband for his hunger. No, I gave him a banana for that. Please be true." It is Alistair. It is.

HALF TIME Peep! Peep! A minute of injury time comes to nothing and the players leave the pitch to steady applause. Gordon Strachan will be happy with that: they've been the better team and played some nice stuff, even if it's not been a rip-roarer. But then friendlies rarely are ...


43 min [Mbm reporter dons anorak] Number of fouls: Scotland 2. Estonia 14.

41 min Now Hutton nearly makes it 2-0 with a cross that almost sneaked into Parieko's near post. The Estonia keeper dashes out to collect the resulting corner, and after flapping like Big Bird in a gale, can only watch it sail over his head.

GOAL! Scotland 1-0 Estonia (Mulgrew 38)

Charlie Mulgrew scores his first international goal - and his first goal of the Strachan era! It was cleverly worked free-kick, straight from page one of the training ground manual: Charlie Adam drilled it across the box and, as everyone else rushed in, Mulgrew pulled away from his marker to shoot home from eight yards.


36 min Meanwhile Ryan Dunne is back with some more suggestions: "Frank Sinatra, the Village People, and Tequila & Irn Bru?" Nearly but not quite, Ryan. Anyway Tequila and Irn Bru - is that the original alcopop?

34 min The game has gone a bit scratchy and drab and Scotland are getting a little sloppy. So far it's not a game you'll be rushing out to buy when it comes out on Ultra HD.

32 min Great save from McGregor! Puri's lofted wedge throughball fools the Scottish defence and only brave keeping stopped Kink opening the scoring.

30 min "What do you reckon is the minimum Gordon Strachan should be achieving in the two years or so he has as Scotland manager before he is sacked/moves to a half-decent club side," asks Donal McGregor. It's one I'm happy to put to the floor, but given Euro 2016 will be letting pretty much most of Europe in, that's got to be the target, surely?

28 min A rare Estonia is headed clear by Scotland's defenders but there's no pressure on Jaager, who nearly proves to be a long-distance shooting meister again, only for his shot to go over the bar.

26 min Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. It's all very neat and tidy from Scotland, and it's mostly on the ground too.

24 min It's still all Scotland. "Maybe, in honour of the African Cup of Nations, we should start calling Scotland the 'Untameable Wildcats'," suggests Simon McMahon. "Friendly or not, a win tonight and Rio 2014 IS ON!" Steady Simon, steady.

22 min Lovely stuff from Maloney, who leaves his marker just inside the centre circle and goes on a foraging run which ends when his shot is well saved.

21 min So close! Burke, who has been decent so far, wriggles and twists like a 60s disco dancer before sticking a cross to the back post. Fletcher leaps and gets reasonable power into his header - but it's just over the bar.

19 min "If we are talking the Life and Times of Kevin O'Callaghan in the early 1980s, there's surely only one trivia fact in town?" suggests Peter May. "He was the first-choice goalkeeper in Escape to Victory nobbled by Michael Caine and the lads to make space for Sly Stallone between the sticks. As initially-controversial-but-ultimately-vindicated late 'keeper switches go it was comparable to Fergie dropping Jim Leighton for the 1990 FA Cup final replay, or at least would have been if Les Sealey had been an indispensible connection to the French resistance."

17 min The pitch is cutting up and bobbling like an apple in a fishtank, but Scotland can still be reasonably pleased with the star. It's not a barnstormer, but then it was never going to be ...

14 min Estonia are slowly getting a bit of play here, and Ojamaa made an excellent run and cross into the box - but there was no team-mate within 10 yards of the ball.

12 min A brief delay in play after Oper is treated after a clash of heads. "Traditional with a twist must be lager and lime," says Alex Gemmell, correctly guessing Kevin O'Callaghan's favourite drink. Spot on Alex. However the singer is not Michael Jackson ...

10 min From a position of little danger, the Estonian left-back Jaager nearly bombs one in. He cut inside and left fly from 25 yards and McGregor had to be smart to tip it over the bar.


8 min It's all Scotland. Charlie Adam just had a free-kick from 25 yards but it he ballooned it over.

6 min ... which is punched clear. "Are Kevin O'Callaghan's answers: a) De Lorean; b) The Nolan Sisters (especially Linda); and c) Pernod?" asks Gary Naylor, who must have contributed as much to these live mbms over the past 11 years as any Guardian staffer. Good to see you Gary. "They would be if Eric Gates had got there first and filled the form in for him," he adds. "He was good that Eric Gates - he played in the hole before we knew it was a hole." Agree on both counts.

5 min Yes, it''s only Estonia, and most of their team are on their winter break, but this is an encouraging start. There are lots of stabbed passes to feet before Burke breaks down the right. His shot is blocked and the follow-up goes for another corner ...

3 min Close for Maloney! Pareiko flaps like a Rough at a straightforward corner, punching when he could have caught under no pressure, and when the ball is headed back in, Estonia's keeper has to be smart to turn Maloney's shot and swivel around the post.

2 min It's a steady, feel-yourself-in, sort of start, with Scotland's defenders happy to give each other a touch near their own 18-yard line. It's all nice stuff though, plenty of tippy-tappy rather than launched garryowens with snow on the ball.

After a rousing, if slightly tuneless Flower of Scotland, we're off! "Hawrite Seany!" writes Ryan Dunne. "Good to see that a Guardian sport high heid yin like yourself still keeps it realz by MBMing diddy games like this! Re: 1982 and nostalgia generally. I was intrigued to hear recently that some Guardian sports fellows have been MBMing for a full decade! Any chance of a link to a ye olde 2003 MBM?" Here's a Scott Murray classic from 2002, Ryan. "Man, in the days of 56K dial-ups you could probably have got away with updates every 10 minutes, and there was probably no below-the-line comments system for anonymous haters. Halcyon days, eh."

The players step out at Pittodrie, where Scotland have won nine of 13 international matches ... and unsurprisingly they got huge cheers. Incidentally congratulations to Adam, who guessed that Kevin O'Callaghan drove a Ford Capri 1600 GL. Can anyone guess O'Callaghans favourite singers (one male singer, one disco beat combo band) or his favourite drink? (think traditional with a twist)

Gordon Strachan is asked how he is feeling ahead of his first game as Scotland manager. "You're not going to believe this but I'm a bit nervous after 40 years," he says. "Managing Scotland is something you don't know you are looking forward to until it arrives. I want my players to express themselves and get the ball down and play. But the pitch might make that difficult."

Incidentally, the Super Focus interview on the back of Shoot! ...

... was Ipswich Town star Kevin O'Callaghan. So fingers on the buzzers. Who can name me a) his car, b) His favourite singers, and c) his favourite drink. First ones to email in with the right answer to any of the above get published...

Team news taken from the wires

Chris Burke made his first Scotland appearance since 2006 after being named in the starting line-up for Gordon Strachan's first game in charge against Estonia at Pittodrie. Strachan went for an attack-minded approach, with Steven Fletcher leading the line and support coming from Burke, Steven Naismith and Shaun Maloney, while skipper Scott Brown and Charlie Adam anchored the midfield.
Allan McGregor was named as goalkeeper, with a back four of Alan Hutton, Christophe Berra, Andy Webster and Charlie Mulgrew for the friendly.

Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Webster, Berra, Mulgrew, Maloney,
Brown, Adam, Burke, Naismith, Fletcher. Subs: Gilks, Morrison,
Commons, Miller, Bardsley, Rhodes, McArthur, Mackie, Martin,
Wallace, Snodgrass, Phillips.
Estonia: Pareiko, Jaager, Morozov, Klavan, Teniste, Puri,
Mosnikov, Vassiljev, Oper, Kink, Ojamaa. Subs: Meerits, Sisov,
Rahn, Kruglov, Kams, Luts, Purje, Voskoboinikov, Ahjupera.
Referee: Clement Turpin (France)


The magazine also quoted then-manager Jock Stein, who said: "Scottish football is certainly on the right lines. On the international front we have continuity ... rather than having to build again." Oh if Scotland's new manager could say that. Or had the players of Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Sounness, Joe Jordan, Frankie Gray, John Wark, John Robertson, Steve Archibald, Alan Hansen, Willie Miller, Tommy Burns or, of course, Gordon Strachan at his disposal.



Good evening everyone. Earlier today I was flicking through an old copy of Shoot! magazine from December 1982 which had a big feature on Scottish football entitled Star Trek Is Over! Why top Scots are staying at home. One quote stood out. "English managers must be fairly envious when they look at the material in Scotland at the moment. Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Dundee United positively bristle with talent." Ah, those were the days, eh?


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