Date: 7th June 2007 at 11:08am
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After 45 minutes of this match, players, manager, coaches and fans would all have been wondering what all the fuss was about. Why had the likes of the legendary Allessandro Del Piero been telling the world that Scotland would find it tough against the Group of Death minnows?

They found out after the next 45.

Alex McLeish will return home to Scotland with three points after a hard fought win in Toftir against the usual patchwork team of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers but he`ll have learned so much for his three points worth.

He`ll have learned that O`Connor and Boyd are his top choice pairing, that he`s finally got a dead-ball threat in Shaun Maloney, the friendly last week was probably a bad idea as his men tired after hard domestic league seasons and that nothing can be taken for granted even at 2-0 up against a team who have not notched any points in the group.

Scotland dominated the first half of this match to the extent that Billy Dodds on BBC commentating duties was pushing for McLeish to play with only two defenders in the second half and go and notch a few more goals against a Faroe team who gave Craig Gordon less to worry about than being bombed on by a puffin in the opening 45.

Scotland hear the half time whistle and they have a top Maloney free kick strike and a more typical Garry O`Connor rebound effort in the bag so it`s job done, play out the second half, put on a bit of a show for the travelling fans and maybe put another couple past former Partick Thistle goalkeeper Jakob Mikkelson.

The next 45 minutes will have told Big Eck that nothing at this level of football is that simple even against a team they previously beat 6-0 at Hampden.

The Scots switched off, visions of holidays and rest after their club seasons, the tough Austria match and the nightmare journey to the Islands started to take their toll and all of a sudden, Scotland were under pressure.

Frantic defending, hoofs up the park, rash tackling all became a feature of our play which had been substituted recently for a smooth, intelligent, passing game all came back big style and pointed to the Scottish boys having just run out of steam and planning to cruise the second period.

The Faroes had clearly decided that at 2-0 down and playing at their supposed talismanic stadium that they would go for bust and give their lot for the next 45, something Eck and the travelling Scots hadn`t been expecting.

They attacked Scotland in a way that they had given no clue that they were capable of and had luck been on their side, the shot that Craig Gordon parried onto the inside of his post and the lob that went over his head with him stranded but then crashed off the bar would have gone in to tie the teams.

Fortunately for the away side, the luck of the day was theirs and it can be argued that Scotland too hit the post a couple of times which would balance it all out but lessons must be learned as this result could have been the worst of the lot against that little country as surrendering a two goal lead would have been unforgivable.

McLeish knew his team looked jaded and did make substitutions but resorting to a 4-5-1 would have killed the game which is something he must take from this schizophrenic encounter.

McLeish said, ‘If the ref would have allowed me I’d have made five or six changes in the second half.

But I could only make three and thankfully they did help us to win back control of the game.

But I could see that my players we re running on empty.

We played very well for 4 5 minutes and used the tactic of the ball over the top of their defence which worked very well for us. We started the second half a bit slowly and we ended up in a bit of a rut.

But it’s been a tremendous effort from the squad and you have to remember that this game has come at the end of a very long, hard season.

The players have also had to do a lot of travelling recently and it was clearly taking a toll.

We played in Austria last week and I thought there was a real aura about the team.

The first half today was also very good but it became difficult for the players to keep going after the break. I’m not overly concerned about the way it went in the second half, I’ve put it down to the players being so tired.

But I must admit if the Faroes had scored it would have become very interesting.

Looking back on the campaign so far we have won six out of eight games and that is a terrific season for the team – up there with any statistics from Scotland sides.

France and Italy will remain the favourites but we will take it right to the end having put ourselves in a very good position.

I’m not going to make any rash predictions but we will continue to do our best in this group.’

The squad head into their home match against Lithuania in good shape in the group but will have to try and win that game without captain Barry Ferguson who obtained a dubious booking.

Baz said ‘I didn’t think the booking was justified. The guy went down easily. In fact, he went down like a lump of wood and look at the size of him.

I went to make a block and he’s kicked my foot. But I can’t do anything about it now.

Scotland are well in touch with the big boys and sit in third place, three points below France but only one behind Italy with a points tally that 99.9% of the Tartan Army would have taken at this stage when the group was drawn.

So well done to the team and coaches but with the team sitting in the worlds top twenty rankings, surely a 2-0 win over the Faroes is the least we can expect?