Praise for Scotland's Marshall, sympathy for Mitrovic

Ronny Deila and Stefan Scepovic

Scotland reached their first European Championship finals since 1996 after a 5-4 penalty shootout win in Serbia with the match ending 1-1 after extra time in the Balkan nation's capital on Thursday.

Steve Clarke's team led courtesy of Ryan Christie's strike early in the second half in the rain in Belgrade, but Luka Jovic headed in to make it 1-1 in the 90th minute, forcing extra time.

With nine out of nine penalties scored, Aleksandar Mitrović stepped up and saw his spot-kick saved by David Marshall - enough to confirm Scotland's safe passage to the Euros.

Christie missed the play-off semi-final win over Israel and victories over Slovakia and the Czech Republic in the Nations League last month after he was categorised as a close contact of Stuart Armstrong, who tested positive for coronavirus after joining up with the Scotland squad. To concede late on and still show character to go through and win on penalties again is wonderful.

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"It's a monkey off the back and we can move on from here". The Celtic midfielder struggling to fight back the tears as he reflected on a momentous night. It's for the whole nation, it's been a terrible year for everyone. We've been through so much over the years.

The hosts fell at Windsor Park to a Kucka goal in the 17th minute but levelled it up in the 87th thanks to a Skiniar own goal.

They did just that, until the 88th minute. Christie collected Callum McGregor's pass on the edge of the box then fired low, in off the post, on his favoured left foot.

The Scots have not appeared in a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup. The two sides couldn't be separated so penalties decided the game. Clarke's side topped League C Group 1 in the 2018/19 Nations League to get into the play-offs, having finished third in their Euro qualification group.

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