Kenny McLean nets late winner as Scotland edge qualifying comeback in Norway

Kenny McLean nets late winner as Scotland edge qualifying comeback in Norway

Kenny McLean scored a dramatic 89th-minute winner for Scotland in Norway as the visitors turned their Euro 2024 qualifier on its head with two goals in as many minutes.

Scotland were trailing to Erling Haaland’s 61st-minute penalty and had barely posed a threat before Lyndon Dykes capitalised on some hesitancy in the Norwegian defence to nudge the ball home after John McGinn’s attempted through ball had been intercepted.

The Group A leaders soon ensured they continued their perfect start to the campaign when Dykes laid McGinn’s pass back to substitute McLean, who curled a low shot just inside the far post.

The visitors wore black armbands in memory of Gordon McQueen, who scored his fifth and final international goal in a 4-0 win in the same stadium in 1979 on the previous occasion the teams met in a European Championship qualifier.

And they provided a fitting tribute to the 30-times capped centre-back with a sensational comeback victory.

Jack Hendry was handed possibly the most difficult task in world football at the moment when he was drafted in to play at the heart of a back three tasked with stopping Haaland.

The Club Brugge defender was the only change to the team that beat Spain in March after Grant Hanley dropped out with a serious Achilles injury.

Erling Haaland celebrates scoring
Scotland were trailing to Erling Haaland’s 61st-minute penalty (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The best chance of the first half fell to Norway forward Alexander Sorloth, who sent a free header from eight yards straight at Angus Gunn.

Scotland struggled to retain possession in the opening 20 minutes before settling down somewhat.

Andy Robertson produced two good runs and crosses but they did not lead to anything and McGinn was closed down quickly after getting a sight of goal following Ryan Christie’s cross.

Steve Clarke’s side were employing a flat back five out of possession and trying to keep a high line. The only time Haaland got the ball in a decent position in the first half, Callum McGregor quickly tracked back to make a penalty-box tackle.

The striker might have had a far better chance if he had not been hauled down by Hendry while beginning a chase for a ball over the top.

Hendry was the last defender but only received a yellow card given the foul was on the halfway line.

The Slovenian referee was a lot harsher in handing bookings to McGinn and Kieran Tierney either side of half-time.

Ola Solbakken and McGinn saw decent long-range shots saved early in the second half before Hendry got away with some penalty-box grappling with Haaland, although the striker did not appeal unlike some of his team-mates.

However, he did not have long to wait for a spot-kick. Ryan Porteous grabbed the striker’s shirt as he looked set to attack Sorloth’s cross and the referee immediately pointed to the spot when Haaland went down.

Porteous in return received a yellow card which rules him out of Tuesday’s visit of Georgia.

Gunn dived the right way and came close but was beaten by the power of the strike from Haaland, who had only scored once in his previous eight club matches but took his tally for the season for club and country to 59.

Scotland soon lost Tierney to injury with Liam Cooper entering the fray and they were making no inroads into Norway’s lead before Clarke made a triple switch in the 79th minute and moved to a back four. McLean, Stuart Armstrong and Billy Gilmour came on.

Haaland went off in the 84th minute and Scotland soon stunned the hosts and delighted their travelling fans with their late double whammy.