Amid the blood and the thunder of the Scotland v Republic of Ireland game it seemed as if we could have been in for a goalless draw. After 75 minutes of non-stop football low on persistent quality but high on adrenaline, there was a moment of real quality with a superbly worked move, finished off by Wigan Athletic’s Shaun Maloney.
There were some good players on show in Glasgow on Friday night, though, and, with 15 minutes left, he was the one who stepped forward to deliver the decisive blow that leaves both these nations in the mix for qualification for France 2014.
Scotland – the better team in the first half – had actually just weathered through a dangerous spell from a rejuvenated Ireland when a header from Jon Walters on to his own crossbar and over earned them a corner on the left.
Previously, Irish goalkeeper David Forde had plucked Scottish set-pieces out of the air with comfort. This time, though, the ball was played low to Scott Brown and when the Scotland captain laid it in to the path of Maloney the curling shot in to the far corner was exquisite and unstoppable.
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