Scotland frustrated by Finland in final Euro 2024 warm-up


Scotland surrendered a two-goal lead to draw with Finland in their final Euro warm-up match but there was relief for Steve Clarke with no further injuries to his squad.

Craig Gordon came off the bench to become Scotland’s oldest player and Tommy Conway made his debut as the Tartan Army partied ahead of the team departing for Germany on Sunday.

Scotland were frustrated by Finland early on but after the fortune of Arttu Hoskonen’s own-goal, Lawrence Shankland headed in a second much to the delight of the home crowd.

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Mark Benstead gives his verdict on Scotland’s final friendly before Euro 2024 after they drew with Finland at Hampden

Gordon replaced Angus Gunn in goal, with Benjamin Kallman pulling a goal back before the Hearts keeper conceded a penalty which Oliver Antman converted to earn a draw in Glasgow.

While Clarke may be frustrated by the scoreline, he will be bouyed by his squad emerging from the match unscathed with Germany in the opening match of Euro 2024 in seven days’ time.

Hampden send-off for Scotland

After losing both Lyndon Dykes and Ben Doak from the squad, it was a slow start for Scotland as they controlled the match but looked determined to avoid any more call-offs.

It was Finland who had the first real chance as Kieran Tierney produced a brilliant block to deny Joel Pohjanpalo before Angus Gunn saved Teemu Pukki’s header on the rebound.

After John McGinn sent an effort over the bar, Pukki did the same at the other end as Finland looked the more threatening.

Team news:

  • Angus Gunn, Anthony Ralston, Jack Hendry, Kieran Tierney and Callum McGregor all returned to the starting XI.
  • Stuart Armstrong and John Souttar were not included in the matchday squad.

Casper Terho was next to threaten for the visitors, but he sent his long-range effort straight into Gunn’s arms.

Scotland enjoyed more than 60 per cent of the possession, but did not register a shot on target until Ryan Christie’s weak effort as saved by Jesse Joronen in the 37th minute.

The hosts started the second half more brightly with Billy Gilmour’s volley saved by Finland’s substitute goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo.

A bit of fortune then saw Steve Clarke’s side take the lead as Hoskonen turned Robertson’s cross into his own net in the 54th minute as the fans cried ‘we’re going to win the Euros!’

Scotland's Lawrence Shankland celebrates as he scores to make it 2-0
Image:
Scotland’s Lawrence Shankland celebrates as he scores to make it 2-0

They were 2-0 up just minutes later as Shankland headed in from another cross from the captain.

Robin Lod curled a shot into the top corner for Finland but he was well offside and the hosts maintained their two-goal lead.

Clarke then rang the changes as Conway made his international debut and Craig Gordon came on to rapturous applause to win his 75th cap and become Scotland’s oldest-ever player.

Scotland's Craig Gordon is substituted on for Angus Gunn
Image:
Scotland’s Craig Gordon is substituted on for Angus Gunn

Scotland then switched off and allowed Finland to pull a goal back as Benjamin Kallman glanced Oliver Antman’s cross past Gordon before the latter cancelled out the home side’s lead from the penalty spot with five minutes remaining.

Conway almost snatched a winner for Scotland in stoppage time, but the striker was denied a dream debut by a brilliant save before the ball was then headed clear.

Clarke: Bring on next week!

Scotland manager Steve Clarke told Premier Sports:

“We were looking to win, obviously. It’s a really difficult one because the players are human and are all thinking about next week.

“We were really good until we started to make changes. We had a great control of the game.

“The changes came because I was looking at minutes people played on Monday night against Gibraltar. I was trying to manage the minutes and get people on the pitch who might need a few minutes.

“It became a little bit disjointed towards the end but that’s not a reflection on the boys on the pitch, it’s because we made so many changes.

“The game drifted towards the end and we lost two poor goals. I’m not sure about the penalty decision.

“We had a decent exercise. Some of the play was good – bring on next week!”

On Tommy Conway: “He should have scored. It shows he gets in goalscoring positions. He’s just told me he’s saving the goals for Germany so that’s fine – I’ll let him off!”

On Lewis Morgan: “Lewis has come in from a long flight from America yesterday. He looked good and lively when he came on.

“They’re good additions to the squad. When you lose players you’ve selected initially, you’re thinking what can you do to make the squad better? Both boys will come in and do okay for us.”

On Scott McTominay: “He’ll be fine. No risk with Scott McTominay tonight and Che Adams.”

Scotland’s Euro 2024 schedule

Scotland have history kicking off tournaments, having been drawn to face Brazil in the opener at World Cup 1998, a game they narrowly lost 2-1 to a second-half Tom Boyd own goal.

This time around the venue is the Munich Football Arena [Allianz Arena] where Steve Clarke’s side kick-off the opening match of Euro 2024 against hosts Germany on June 14.

Scotland also face games against perennial qualifiers Switzerland in Cologne on June 19, with Hungary – who reached the knockouts in 2016 – awaiting in Stuttgart on June 23.



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