SCOTLAND failed to bring their four game winless run to an end or finish their remarkable Euro 2024 qualifying campaign on a huge high at Hampden tonight when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Norway.

National team manager Steve Clarke, whose charges clinched their place at the finals in Germany with two Group A games to spare last month, was without many of his mainstays due to injuries and had to field an understrength starting line-up.

At times it showed. Stale Solbakken’s men took the lead twice, first through Aron Donnum and then when Jorgen Larsen. But John McGinn scored a penalty kick, Leo Ostigard put the ball in his own net at a Scott McTominay corner and Stuart Armstrong put the hosts ahead.

However, Mohammed Elyounoussi, the former Celtic loanee who is now at Copenhagen, came off the bench and nodded a leveller for Norway with four minutes of regulation time left on the clock.

After losses to England, Spain and France and a draw with Georgia, it was a hugely frustrating denouement for Clarke. He is eager for Scotland to start building momentum ahead of the tournament. Still, seeing his team come behind twice and take the lead will have pleased him greatly.  

This, though, was a night for the Tartan Army to laud their heroes for achieving their objective, not to lament any shortcomings. The home supporters in the 48,183-strong crowd duly obliged. There was a definite party atmosphere inside the packed ground even though it was effectively a dead rubber.

The home fans stayed inside the stadium long after Romanian referee Horatiu Fesnic had blown the final whistle as captain McGinn and his team mates did a lap of honour and Yes Sir I Can Boogie blared out over the public address system. Here are a few talking points from the encounter.  


Clarke was unconcerned about Scotland winning the game by two clear goals, finishing Euro 2024 qualifying as the best second-placed team and securing a place in Pot 2 when the draw is made in Hamburg on Saturday week when he spoke at his pre-match press conference on Saturday afternoon.  

He will not, then, be too bothered about the final outcome at the end of the 90 minutes. A quick glance at the calibre of the teams who will be going into Pot 3 shows exactly why. There are no easy victories in international football and it would have been disrespectful and presumptuous of the manager to send his team out to win by a certain margin.   


Clarke made four changes to the team which took to the field in the Tbilisi on Thursday night; Jack Hendry replaced Ryan Porteous at centre half, Kenny McLean and Armstrong took over from Billy Gilmour and Ryan Christie and Jacob Brown was preferred to Lyndon Dykes in attack.

The sight of McLean on the left side of the threequarter line will not have been well received by the visitors: the Norwich City midfielder came off the bench and scored an injury-time winner against them in Oslo back in June.

But Manchester City winger Oscar Bobb ran riot down the right flank. He very much got the better of McLean and Celtic left back Greg Taylor. Both of the Norway goals in the opening 45 minutes originated down that side.

McLean is, as he showed over in Norway in the summer, a handy man to have in the national squad. He got a touch on the McTominay corner which Ostigard inadvertently turned past Egil Selvik. But he does not deserve to start ahead of the likes of Christie or McGinn on this evidence. He was replaced by Lewis Ferguson with 20 minutes remaining.

Taylor, who did not have his best evening in a dark blue jersey, must up his game significantly to secure a place on the flight to Germany. If Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney and Aaron Hickey are fit, and it is hoped and expected they will be, he will be left at home.        


Lawrence Shankland’s injury-time equaliser against Georgia in the Dinamo Arena in midweek had prompted a flurry of debate about whether the Hearts captain, who had been overlooked for the original squad, deserved more game time and possibly even merited a start.

But the man who only came in when Che Adams was forced to withdraw was on the bench when the game kicked off this evening. Jacob Brown of Luton Town was given the chance to show what he was capable of and handed his first start.

The eight-times capped striker has never, unlike Shankland, found the net for his adopted homeland. Could he get off the mark in this meaningless fixture? Alas, he could not. He worked tirelessly with the limited service which he received from those behind him and did his cause no harm whatsoever.

Shankland came on at the death as Scotland pushed for a winner. But Adams and Lyndon Dykes, who replaced Brown in the second half, remain the best forwards that Clarke has at his disposal.     


McGinn scored seven goals for Scotland in Euro 2020 qualifying. But three of those came against San Marino. Steven Fletcher had also plundered that many during the national team’s ill-fated bid to reach the Euro 2016 finals four years earlier. The striker, though, hit hat-tricks against Gibraltar home and away.

In the Euro 2024 campaign, Manchester United midfielder McTominay has claimed doubles against Cyprus and Spain at home and has found the target against Georgia both home and away as well as Cyprus away. He has not amassed his impressive tally, then, against minnows.

There were no goals for the man who qualifies to play for this country through his father tonight. However, he performed to his usual high level alongside Callum McGregor of Celtic, who picked up the Man of the Match award, in the 4-2-3-1 formation which Clarke opted for and equalled the Scottish strike record for a qualifying campaign with second from eight.

If only that second half stunner against Spain in Seville had been allowed to stand.