NOT even an act of God could knock Scotland’s heroic bid to reach the Euro 2024 finals in Germany next summer off course.

Hampden Park has witnessed some incredible drama during the 145 years it has been staging international football matches.

But the world-famous Mount Florida venue had never before been the scene of events like those which unfolded tonight as the national team faced Georgia in a Group A fixture.

Steve Clarke’s side, on a high after wins over Cyprus, Spain and Norway, won 2-0 thanks to an early goal from Callum McGregor and a second-half strike by Scott McTominay to surge eight points clear at the top of their section.

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But the final scoreline does not even begin to tell the story of an incredible evening and a 90 minute match that took, due to a deluge of biblical proportions before kick-off, three and a half hours and to complete. 

The Hampden Roar? More like the Hampden Downpour! So what on earth happened? And what does it all mean. Here are five talking points from a game like no other.


The heavens emptied themselves shortly before kick-off and the hallowed Hampden turf was practically a puddle when play got underway.

The underfoot conditions made proceedings early on farcical. When Aaron Hickey broke towards goal he was tackled by the pitch, not an opposition player. It was clearly unplayable, not to mention dangerous.

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Both managers made their unhappiness at what they were witnessing clear to fourth official Ferenc Karako and then started gesticulating towards referee Istavan Vad in a desperate attempt to halt the match.

Their appeals were heard after McGregor had broken the deadlock with his third international goal at a John McGinn corner in the sixth minute. Both sets of players were sent back to the dressing rooms amid deafening boos from the disappointed crowd.

Ground staff and ball boys took to the pitch with brushes, rollers and blowers to clear the excess water. But the surface failed a pitch inspection after a 20 minute delay and it was given another 10 minutes to recover.

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When Vad and his colleagues returned for another look they seemed happier and the workers were immediately ordered concentrate their efforts in both penalty boxes. There was a huge roar when the stadium announcer told supporters the game would recommence at 8.55pm. That soon got pushed back to 9.15pm. And then 9.30pm.

But Georgia, clearly aggrieved the McGregor goal was being allowed to stand and obviously upset the match was not being abandoned, were nowhere to be seen. Reports filtered back that they were refusing to continue.

Eventually, no doubt fearing a 3-0 defeat being awarded against them, they reappeared and we were and after over 100 minutes of inactivity, we were up and running again.


This was a bizarre, draining, stop-start evening and then some. But Scotland coped far better with the disruption than their rivals. They warmed up without complaint, laughed and joked among themselves at the utter absurdity of it all and at one stage stood and applauded their fans to thank them for their patience and perseverance.

Their attitude was in stark contrast to that of the visitors. Georgia struggled to hide their displeasure at what was happening. They clearly would have preferred the game to be abandoned. When play finally resumed they were battered.

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When their star man Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, the Napoli winger, ballooned a penalty over the crossbar in injury-time their misery was complete.


The Manchester United midfielder McTominay, who had found the net once in his first 38 games for his adopted homeland, became a darling of the Tartan Army with his back-to-back doubles in the wins over Cyprus and Spain back in March.

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The 26-year-old, who was a handful for Georgia all evening with his powerful breaks upfield, added to his tally in the second minute of the second-half tonight with a strike that was a carbon copy of his second against Spain.

He is now level with Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo on five in the qualification scoring charts and ahead of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland. He deserves to be in such exalted company.


Andy Robertson and his team mates made history tonight. And, no, not for winning the longest match in international football history. No Scotland side before last night had ever started a qualifying campaign with four straight triumphs.

The result sent Clarke’s men eight points clear in first place with four matches remaining. Spain were not involved in this double header because they were playing in, and winning, the Nations League final on Sunday. They will doubtless climb the table and look to reclaim top spot when they return.

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Still, it is, with the top two going through, very difficult to see the national team failing to book their place in Germany from here. If they can overcome Cyprus in Nicosia in September the Tartan Army can start pricing up their flights and accommodation.


Clarke made one change to the team which took to the field against Norway at the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo on Saturday evening; Ryan Christie dropped to the bench and Billy Gilmour came back in.

It was the first start the Brighton midfielder had made in a competitive international in over a year; the last time he started a meaningful match for his country was in the Nations League encounter with Armenia in Yerevan last June.

The 22-year-old had, despite his tender years and lack of experience, been Scotland’s key man during the eight game unbeaten run they went on last season. Fans were glad to see the young man who finished this term on a high note with a string of impressive showings in the Premier League back involved.

The ex-Rangers and Chelsea kid acquitted himself superbly in difficult circumstances. He sat deep, protected the defence, initiated attacks and allowed McGregor and McTominay to get forward. He was a deserved Man of the Match.

But everyone in a dark blue jersey was a star.