Scotland 1 – 1 Switzerland

Scotland’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time in their history are still alive after a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Switzerland in Group A.

Steve Clarke’s side were much improved from Friday’s 5-1 thrashing by Euro 2024 hosts Germany and went in front early on when Scott McTominay dispatched Callum McGregor’s cut-back, via a deflection off Fabian Schar, following a rapid counter-attack.

The goal sparked delirious celebrations from the Tartan Army inside Cologne Stadium but Switzerland soon levelled through veteran Xherdan Shaqiri, who produced a brilliant, first-time finish from the edge of the box after pouncing on Anthony Ralston’s loose pass.

The two sides continued to trade blows in the second half, with Angus Gunn, excellent when saving from Dan Ndoye in the first period, again denying the Swiss forward from a one-on-one chance before Grant Hanley headed a huge Scotland opportunity against the post from Andrew Robertson’s free-kick.

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Kris Boyd celebrates Scotland’s opener against Switzerland

That was as close Scotland came to taking all three points, and what would have been their first win at a major tournament since beating the same opponent at Euro 1996, but at the other end they showed impressive defensive resilience, surviving a late scare when substitute Zeki Amdouni headed wastefully wide.

Grant Hanley hit the post as Scotland pushed for a second-half winner
Grant Hanley hit the post as Scotland pushed for a second-half winner

The draw puts Scotland on one point from two games in Group A, three behind the second-placed Swiss, who are all but qualified along with Germany. Crucially, though, it means a win over Hungary in their final game on Sunday would give Scotland a chance of progressing as one of the four best third-placed finishers.

The only blot on the night was an injury to defender Kieran Tierney, who had to be stretchered off in the second half having gone to ground clutching his hamstring, with Clarke confirming afterwards that he will definitely miss the meeting with Hungary.

Clarke rues Tierney blow

Scotland boss Steve Clarke said: “It looks pretty bad. We have to assess it, but Kieran won’t make the next game.

“You have to feel for Kieran, he’s got himself in great shape and he’s a top player for us. It’s a shame but someone else has got to step up to the mark.”

Star performer: McTominay crucial

Scott McTominay’s goal – his eighth for the national team – was his standout moment but this was an excellent all-round performance from the Manchester United midfielder.

Scott McTominay was active all over the pitch, including in both boxes
Scott McTominay was active all over the pitch, including in both boxes

He drove the side forward in possession, as he so often does, taking twice as many shots (four) as any of his team-mates and ranking top for touches in the opposition box (eight).

But he was similarly important off the ball, relishing the assignment of shadowing Granit Xhaka in order to limit his influence and carrying out the task diligently.

Gunn: We were 10 times better

Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn said: “Everything in the game, from the start, was 10 times better than the other night.

“The lads managed to keep it going for 90 minutes. Some of them were flagging by the end but it was much more like us.

“We wanted to bring that [the intensity] back into the game today. We did that and you see the lift it gave the players and the fans. That was the boost we needed at the start of the game.

“Personally I was hurting after the game on Friday night as I didn’t think I had done myself justice. I think a lot of the boys felt like that as well. That was the motivation, to come out and show what we’re all about.

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Kris Boyd says Scotland ‘did the nation proud’ as they drew with Switzerland

“We wanted to go into the last game with something to play for. We go to the last game knowing what we have to do and hopefully we can get a big result.”

Captain Andrew Robertson said: “Much more like us, aggressive on the front foot and got off to a much better start.

“We make a mistake but Tony Ralston was unbelievable after that mistake. Not many people could come back from that, but second half he was different class.

“We have our chances, but it was an open game. That was far more like us and we’re a lot more happy with that performance. We’ll take the draw and there’s all to play for in the last game. That’s all we can ask for.”

Boyd: They’ve done the nation proud

Sky Sports’ Kris Boyd said: “There were questions and criticism after the performance on Friday night and rightly so.

“Tonight they’ve responded and it’s been more like Scotland, right in their faces.

“Switzerland are no mugs at this level but they’ve more than matched them and they come away with a draw.

“Yes they rode their luck at times but I think Steve Clarke will be relatively happy with that result.”

How does ranking third-placed teams work?

The top two teams from each of the six groups will proceed to the round of 16.

Those 12 sides will be joined by four of the six third-placed finishers in the groups. The sides finishing third will be placed into a league table, with the top four sides progressing to the last 16.

The teams that finish third in their respective groups are ranked in order of the following criteria, starting with:

1) Points
2) Goal difference
3) Goals scored
4) Wins
5) Lower disciplinary points total
6) European Qualifiers overall ranking
7) If hosts Germany are involved in the comparison, drawing of lots

The tournament then moves to a straight knockout format, with one-legged ties – including extra-time and penalties if necessary – until two sides reach the final on July 14 in Berlin.

Stats: Story of the match

So far in Group A…

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