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Friday Round-Up: Scots Keep World Cup Dreams Alive

Scotland v Slovakia - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Leigh Griffiths is amongst a host of Scotland players celebrating the late winner over Slovakia.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

THE BIG STORY: Four Celts started as Scotland managed to keep our hopes of qualifying for just about alive with a 1-0 victory over Slovakia.

Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths all started as Scotland frantically tried to break down a Slovakian side who had been reduced to 10 men after 23 minutes with Robert Mak sent-off for two bookable offences. Leigh Griffiths twice came close to breaking the deadlock with a shot which was saved by Dubravka, then a free-kick off the bar.

Both Tierney and Forrest were eventually replaced but maddeningly manager Gordon Strachan kept Callum McGregor on the bench, and just as his days as Scotland manager seemed all but over Griffiths held off a defender to set up Ikechi Anya and his cross was diverted into his own net by Martin Skertl.

Craig Gordon earned his 50th Scotland cap for this game, and he spoke to the press after the match.

Whilst Leigh Griffiths spoke about ‘the spirit’ of the Scotland squad and our propensity for scoring late goals.

So Scotland know now that if we defeat Slovenia on Sunday we should qualify for the World Cup Play-Offs next month. Memo to Gordon Strachan: pick Callum McGregor for this match.

OTHER NEWS: In other international Celt news, Tom Rogic played the last eight minutes of Australia’s draw with Syria, whilst both Moussa Dembele and Olivier Ntcham featured for France under 21s in their 2-1 over Montenegro.

Patrick Roberts has vowed to play even better than he did last season to repay the faith Brendan Rodgers has in bringing him back to Celtic this season.

ON THIS DAY: In 1984, goals from Frank McGarvey and Davie Provan gave Celtic a 2-1 win over Aberdeen at in a top of the table clash at Celtic Park. Provan’s winner - a trademark free-kick - came after Pat Bonner saved a Billy Stark penalty for Aberdeen when it was 1-1. Full highlights are below.