Scotland beat San Marino 2-0 to keep away from a second embarrassment of the week and get their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign up and running on Sunday despite the fact that it was not really a performance to energize their fans.
Kenny McLean’s looking header put the Scots ahead after four minutes against the tiny republic in northern Italy yet it was not until the 74th minute that Johnny Russell made the points safe with an amazing completion.
Scotland were assailed for losing 3-0 to 117th-positioned Kazakhstan in their opening Group I fixture on Thursday.
San Marino, 211th and bottom of FIFA’s rankings, have never won an aggressive match and never looked like doing as such against a Scotland side reeling from their contemptible display in Kazakhstan.
They made things clumsy however subsequent to falling behind ahead of schedule – to such an extent that there were moans of disappointment from the Tartan Army inside the Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle.
Manager Alex McLeish was even booed at halftime.
“We spoke about bringing our quality to the game so it was a surprise to see passes going astray,” McLeish said. “I think the result in Kazakhstan affected a few of them.
“Getting the second goal was important because San Marino felt they were still in the game and when they broke it put the frighteners up the fans a wee bit, and they got agitated.
“The fans were looking for five or six and we accept that.”
The introduction off the bench of James Forrest late on livened up the Scotland execution and it was his ball after a counter-assault that enabled Russell to make the scoreline pretty much good.
“We got off to a good start but it wasn’t nice,” said Norwich City’s McLean, making his first start in a competitive game. “It was frustrating but we got the job done. We should have got more goals but it wasn’t to be.”