SCOTLAND will have to wait a little longer to secure qualification for the Euro 2024 finals after being denied another result against Spain and the point they required to book their place in Germany next summer here in Seville tonight by a controversial refereeing decision.

The national team, on top of Group A after five consecutive victories, produced another gutsy and intelligent performance in La Cartuja against opponents who are currently in 10th place in the FIFA World Rankings.  

They looked to have taken the lead on the hour mark when Scott McTominay netted a sensational free-kick – but Dutch referee Serdar Gozubuyuk disallowed it following a VAR check. Was it for a foul by Jack Hendry on goalkeeper Unai Simon? Or was the centre half offside? It was unclear what the offence had been.

Alvaro Morata promptly piled on the agony for Steve Clarke’s side when he got on the end of a Jesus Navas delivery and netted a diving header to put Luis de la Fuente’s team in front and Oihan Sancet sewed up their victory late on after a slip by Aaron Hickey.

With Norway thrashing Cyprus in Larnaca and keeping alive their chances of finishing in the top two in the section Scotland were unable to get across the line – but they can hold their heads up high after a gallant display.

Here are five talking points from a devastating evening.    


McTominay, who became a hero in his adopted homeland with his double in the 2-0 win over Spain at Hampden back in March, appeared to have put Scotland ahead on the hour mark after Dani Carvajal had brought down Ryan Christie just outside his penalty box.

The Manchester United midfielder stepped up and whipped an unstoppable shot into the top right corner of goal from a seemingly impossible angle to send the Tartan Army into dreamland once again.

But the Spanish players protested to Gozubuyuk and he disallowed it after viewing a replay on his pitchside monitor. It was a perplexing ruling and a sickening blow. Would the final scoreline have been different if it had stood? There is every chance.


Clarke sprang a few surprises with his team selection. It had been anticipated he would switch from a back three to a back four with Kieran Tierney being out injured. He did so to devastating effect in the Nations League last term when Robertson was sidelined.

But he persevered with the system which has served him so well during this campaign and brought in Scott McKenna alongside Jack Hendry and Ryan Porteous. It was the Nottingham Forest man’s first start for his country in over a year and his first game of any description in nearly a month. How would he cope against being thrust in against Ferran Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal and Morata?

When Morata played a defence-splitting pass to Torres in only the second minute it did not augur well for the rest of the evening. Fortunately for Scotland, the young Barcelona winger fired, despite only having goalkeeper Angus Gunn to beat, wide of the right post. And they quickly regained their composure after that let off. McKenna more than justified his inclusion thereafter.  


The Manchester City defensive midfielder became an object of ridicule in the wake of the Scotland victory over Spain at Hampden in March when he made several derogatory comments about the victors in a post-match interview.

The Tartan Army had clearly not forgotten. They booed the £60m superstar whenever he was in possession. Which was a great deal. Much of the hosts’ play went through the former Sevilla and Atletico Madrid pivot.  

But the anti-football which he had accused the visitors of playing seven months had the desired impact once again. Scotland, who deserved a draw and a point for their valiant efforts, nullified the threat Rodri posed and underlined just how classless his comments had been.


It was easy to understand why no Scottish side had won in Seville in seven previous attempts as kick-off drew closer.

The Spanish supporters have clearly been buoyed by the improvement their national side have made under De La Fuente since their defeat to their opponents in Glasgow. They created quite a party atmosphere inside the arena.

Vuvuzelas – souvenirs from their solitary World Cup victory in South Africa back in 2010 – were blown around the ground throughout and a few Mexican waves started up during the opening 45 minutes.   

All that said, the match was far from a sell-out. Was that an indication that the hosts’ followers were not taking the threat posed by their rivals that seriously despite the outcome of their previous encounter? If that was the case, those who did turn up got a nasty fright.  

Scotland gave the ball away far too often and far too easily early on. They had to withstand intense pressure during the early exchanges as a result of their carelessness. They were fortunate that nobody in a red shirt managed to get a final touch after flick-ons into the six yard box at three corners which they conceded.

It looked to be only a matter of time before the deadlock was broken. Hickey produced a fantastic block to deny Oyarzabal and then Mikel Merino hit the left upright with a follow-up attempt. Morata had a strike disallowed for offside. Robertson and his compatriots were living very precariously indeed.

Still, Scotland certainly had their moments at the other end of the park. They certainly should have been awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area when Dani Carvajal took out John McGinn. But Gozubuyuk was unconvinced and allowed play to continue. Clarke promptly had a few choice words for the fourth official on the touchline.


Scotland’s hopes of getting a result suffered a savage blow a few minutes before half-time when their captain and wing back Robertson was flattened by Simon as they both challenged for a cross into the Spain area. The Liverpool defender was unable to continue after receiving medical treatment and walked off with his right arm wrapped in a makeshift sling.

Clarke opted to move Hickey to the left, where he plays on a weekly basis for Brentford, and bring on Nathan Patterson on the right. The Everton player allowed Alejandro Balde to get in behind him needlessly shortly after coming on.

But he recovered from his lapse in concentration and the entire team coped without their skipper admirably.