Well, that wasn't exactly the greatest of displays from Scotland, but they never really looked like dropping points, dominating from start to finish. It was a professional display, with goals from Berra and Griffiths. Now, two more games to decide whether the Dark Blues will be heading into the play-offs.
- 2nd Half
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
Scotland - Malta
World Cup Qualification UEFA - 4 September 2017
World Cup Qualification UEFA – Follow the Football match between Scotland and Malta live with Eurosport. The match starts at 19:45 on 4 September 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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- End of 2nd Half
FULL TIME: Scotland 2-0 Malta
So, next month Scotland will host Slovakia before travelling to Slovenia. This group will come to those two games for the Dark Blues. Win them and they will have a playoff place.
Three minutes of stoppage time to be played at the end of the match.
Martin isn't very happy with his teammates. He wants the ball to be played forward much faster than it is, but Scotland seem to be quite happy just playing it around unchallenged.
SHOULD HAVE DONE BETTER! Robertson slips the pass into Phillips, but the Scotland winger should have done better with his shot, putting the effort over the crossbar.
- OffSteve BorgMalta
- OnAlex MuscatMalta
And the final change from Malta...
ARMSTRONG SHOT IS SAVED! The Scotland midfielder bursts through the centre of midfield, but sees his effort from distance saved by Hogg. There was some power in that strike.
- OffBjorn KristensenMalta
- OnPaul FenechMalta
Change from Malta, with Fenech coming off.
The verve and momentum from Scotland's play was lost midway through the first half and it never really returned. But in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. Win in the bag.
Both teams are just going through the motions, and to be honest, they've been going through the motions for quite some time now. Just blow the whistle now referee and be done with it.
He just couldn't get the touch under control! The ball into Armstrong from Forrest was a good one, but it got away from him just as he was looking to get the shot away on goal.
The introduction of Martin hasn't really done much for Scotland. The big striker has struggled to get on the end of much, with Malta finding it easy enough to keep a hold of him.
Scotland are just starting to look a little bit tired. It's understandable given the effort they have put into the two games over the past few days. They have played well, on the whole.
This has been quite the turnaround from Scotland. They looked down and out not so long ago, but back to back wins against Lithuania and Malta have put them right back in the chase.
EFFIONG CHANCE! That's Malta's best chance of the night. Gordon makes the save from a cross, but the ball ends up at the feet of Effiong inside the box. He takes the shot, but Hanley blocks.
Griffiths is now sitting on the bench with an ice pack on his calf. It doesn't look too serious though, otherwise he would have have disappeared down the tunnel for treatment.
And there's a foul from Brown on Effiong. Why hasn't Strachan taken him off yet? He is so important to Scotland's chances and this game is won. Just seems like an unecessary risk.
Rather peculiar that Brown is still on the pitch. The Scotland captain would be ruled out of next month's crucial game against Slovakia should he see a yellow card. Worth the risk?
- OffAndre SchembriMalta
- OnLuke GambinMalta
There's also a change for Malta, although this is about damage limitation for them now.
Of course, it's worth noting that without that goal against Slovenia, Scotland's hopes of making it to next year's World Cup would have been over months ago. Crucial winner.
- OffLeigh GriffithsScotland
- OnChris MartinScotland
Martin comes on for Griffiths. No boos for the big striker this time after his crucial goal against Slovenia.
Indeed, it looks like Griffiths will be coming off for Scotland here. That won't just be a worry for Strachan, but for Rodgers and Celtic as well. They are reliant on the striker too.
This could be a bit of an issue for Scotland. Griffiths has gone done with an injury. He seemed to damage himself as he took the shot moments ago. Might a change be needed?
GRIFFITHS TAKES THE SHOT! The Scotland number is released into the box by a good pass, but with Phillips square he decides to take the shot instead, with Hogg making the save.
Scotland are doing a good job of keeping the ball and spraying the passes, but they aren't making much progress in terms of getting in behind. Malta are defending very deep.
Malta have looked vulnerable from set pieces. Scotland scored the opener from a corner kick, but the hosts might have hoped to have actually made more of their chances from set pieces.
Scotland are two goals to the good and most likely have the points in the bag at this stage, but they could do with a few more goals to boost the confidence ahead of next month's games.
So as things stand, England would be top of Group F on 20 points, with Slovakia on 15 points and Scotland on 14 points. The Dark Blues are certainly making a real fight of this.
Another update from Wembley - England have scored a second to take the lead against Slovakia. That will suit Scotland just fine. The Dark Blues will face Slovakia at Hampden next month.
I think I might have jinxed Robertson. For perhaps the first time in his whole career to date, he gets a cross from the left side completely wrong, playing it straight out of play. Whoops.
Robertson has once again been the standout performer for Scotland down the left side. The Liverpool full back has become his country's best player over the past year or so.
This hasn't been the most exhilirating performance from Scotland so far, but they are getting the job done. They are on top and the visitors to Hampden are struggling to create much.
Of course, Hanley was a first team starter at the start of this World Cup qualification campaign, but that has changed in recent months. This is a chance for him to make a claim, though.
- OffCharlie MulgrewScotland
- OnGrant HanleyScotland
There's the enforced change for Scotland and Hanley comes on for Mulgrew.
DIVING SAVE FROM HOGG! Phillips creates the shooting opportunity for Forrest, who takes the shot from the edge of the box, but the Malta keeper gets down well to turn it round the post.
This isn't looking so good for Mulgrew at the moment. The Blackburn Rovers player is down on the ground and is now hobbling off the pitch. Scotland might be forced into a change here.
Indeed, replays show that Griffiths was in fact offside as the ball was played into the Malta box from the left side. The away side are within their rights to feel aggrieved at that decision.
It hadn't been his evening up until that moment, but that's what all good strikers do. He followed up the chance and pounced on the rebound off the base of the Malta post.
- GoalLeigh GriffithsScotland
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Scotland 2 (49 mins - Leigh Griffiths) Malta 0. There's the second goal and Scotland finally have a bit of breathing room! Armstrong slips in Robertson, who crosses into Morrison. He hits the post, but Griffiths was on hand to finish from close range.
So what's the thinking behind Strachan throwing on Morrison for the start of the second half? McArthur was starting to look a little bit tired towards the end of the opening 45 minutes.
- OffJames McArthurScotland
- OnJames MorrisonScotland
Strachan has made a change to his Scotland team at the half time break, with Morrison coming on for McArthur.
- 2nd Half
The second half is under way! Scotland have a 1-0 lead over Malta.
What did you make of the first half at Hampden? Should Scotland be further ahead? Does Strachan need to freshen up his team? Can Malta come away with something? Tweet me!
HALF TIME: Scotland 1-0 Malta. The hosts have the lead through Berra's header, but they won't be too happy with how they lost momentum as the first half progressed. Winning, but not so impressive.
PHILLIPS SHOT ON GOAL! Hogg seemed to see that shot rather late. The Scotland winger took the effort from the best part of 25 yards out, but it was straight at the goalkeeper.
That was a wasted opportunity. Malta tried a clever little freekick on the edge of the box, or at least, they thought it was clever. Instead, the ball just ran straight through to Gordon.
Griffiths just hasn't timed his runs well enough tonight. The Maltese defenders have done a good job of playing the offside trap to prevent the Celtic striker from racing clean through.
I get the feeling that Scotland actually need the half time break. They might have the lead, but the momentum from their play has been completely lost. No direction or urgency.
SOFT DECISION! Phillips makes the most of a bouncing ball, easing the Maltese defender out of possession, but the referee penalises him. Replays show there wasn't much in that.
Well, I'm not sure this has happened before. England have scored an equaliser against Slovakia, and a cheer has just gone up around Hampden. Scotland cheering on England.
Update from Wembley - Slovakia are still beating England 1-0. This is becoming a real concern for Scotland. That result would put a spanner in the works of their qualification hopes.
Scotland could use a second goal before the break, just to give themselves some breathing space before the second half. They have been in control, but not creating too much.
Just for a moment it looked like Phillips was going to gallop into space behind the Malta defence, but he just couldn't beat the second man and the away side could make the challenge.
TIERNEY SHOT ON GOAL! The Celtic full back comes inside on to his left foot and curls a shot towards the Malta goal, but Hogg watches it all the way and makes the simple save.
Griffiths stands over the freekick about 25 yards out. Of course, he scored two from this sort of position against England, but this time he fires well over the bar. Disappointment inside Hampden.
WHERE WERE THE TAKERS? Phillips did really well to get to the byline and fire a low cross into the box, but there was nobody in a dark blue shirt on hand to apply the finish.
Should be noted that Slovakia are still winning at Wembley. Scotland's chances of making it to the World Cup next summer would be all but gone should that scoreline stay the same.
The one Malta player who looks like he could cause some problems for Scotland is Effiong. He has pace to burn and certainly has a yard or two on Berra and Mulgrew.
Malta were carrying a bit of a threat about 10 minutes ago, but that has completely vanished now. They are simply sitting back, holding on to what they have. With is a 1-0 defeat.
There's not much in the way of tempo or pace to this game, but Scotland are in control. They're just struggling to get in behind the Malta backline. They're sitting so deep to plug the gaps.
It looked that way. Played is straight out of play...
Berra rises highest from a corner kick once again, but the Hearts centre back can't get a clean enough connection this time and the ball skids off his head. That looks to be a real threat for Scotland.
ALMOST AN OWN GOAL! Griffiths plays a cute little reverse pass to get Forrest to the byline, but the Celtic winger sees his cross into the box cut out, with the ball dribbling just wide.
Scotland have the opportunity for a counter attack, with McArthur winning the ball on the halfway line, but the midfielder takes too long to play the pass to Griffiths and the chance is gone.
If things were to stay the same, Scotland would actually be only three points behind England in the group. They might become their primary targets with just two games left to play.
Griffiths is looking to shoot with every chance he gets. The Celtic striker doesn't have the best international scoring record, and so he will want to fill his boots with a few this evening.
It's remarkable to think that this is only Armstrong's fourth cap. He really should have been in the squad earlier. He has become crucial to the way Scotland play in 2017.
INTO THE SIDE NETTING! Great play from Robertso plays the ball into Armstrong, who decides to take the shot on first time, but his half volley flashes into the side netting of Hogg's goal.
Scotland are in complete control of this game at the moment. They were expected to dominate possession, given the standard of opposition, but they look dangerous in the final third.
Scotland haven't won an international double header in the same week for 10 years. With that opening goal from Berra, it looks like that run might come to an end this evening.
- GoalChristophe BerraScotland
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Scotland 1 (10 mins - Christophe Berra) Malta 0. There's the opener to settle some nerves inside Hampden! Berra leaps highest at the back post to power home a header from a Griffiths corner kick delivery. Good goal from the centre back.
GOOD SAVE! Griffiths' initial shot breaks to Forrest, who fires a low drive towards goal, but Hogg gets down well to make the diving save. That was a decent effort from the Celtic winger.
BIG CHANCE FOR MCARTHUR! The goalkeeper made a mess of a cross into the box, with the ball dropping to the edge of the box, but McArthur saw his shot blocked 18 yards out.
The goal at Wembley...
So long story short, Scotland need England to beat Slovakia tonight, otherwise the Dark Blues' chances of finishing second place in the group will all but vanish. That's why that goal matters.
SHOT WIDE! Armstrong links up with Forrest and creates a shooting opportunity for himself on the edge of the box, but he drags his shot slightly and drives wide of the post.
Well, the evening's games have only just kicked off, but there's an early set back for Scotland. Slovakia have taken the lead against England at Wembley. That wasn't in the script.
So it's fair to say Scotland are favourites for this one. Malta have yet to pick up a pick, or even score, in nine previous trips to the United Kingdom and Ireland. Not a great record.
- 1st Half
The match is under way at Hampden! It's Scotland against Malta.
There can be no more slip ups from Scotland. They need three points from this one to give them any real chance of making the play-offs, and therefore the World Cup next year.
Strachan has opted for the same starting lineup that beat Lithuania 3-0 on Friday night. Brown will be missing for the next game against Slovakia if he picks up a booking tonight.
TEAM NEWS: Scotland - Gordon, Tierney, Mulgrew, Berra, Robertson, Brown, McArthur, Armstrong, Forrest, Phillips, Griffiths. /// Malta - Hogg, Magri, Borg, Agius, Fenech, Schembri, Muscat, Kristensen, Zerafa, Effiong, Pisani.
I'm Graham Ruthven and you can catch me on Twitter to let me know your thoughts ahead of the game. Have Scotland left it too late to make it to the World Cup? Can Malta put up a fight?
Good evening and welcome to Eurosport's LIVE coverage of the World Cup qualifier against Scotland and Malta. We'll bring you all the action from Hampden as it happens. Kick off is at 7.45pm.