Kieran Tierney’s opener was thwarted by a controversial penalty for Poland

THE end result was enough to put Steve Clarke on pole.

in hamden, Scotland their seventh consecutive win was denied with a late, late disputed penalty.

Kieran Tierney celebrates his goal with his Scottish team mates


Kieran Tierney celebrates his goal with his Scottish team matesPhoto credit: Willie Vass

But the last-gasp drama shouldn’t distract from another impressive performance from the men in dark blue.

Craig Gordon is said to have brought down Krzysztof Piatek in the third minute of added time. The Hertha BSC striker wanted to shoot himself off the mark with what was practically the last shot.

This should have been a night when Kieran TierneyThe header in the 68th minute was the winner.

But it shouldn’t be.

Let’s hope this friendly disappointment isn’t repeated when it really counts, because there was more than enough on this show to be positive.

It really couldn’t have been friendlier.

The atmosphere at Hampden was great as two nations came together for the good of one another.

The Tartan Army came into effect, with Poland also supported by an impressive following.

They didn’t just sit in one section of the stadium either, with Poles everywhere.

For the poor people in Ukraine, football just doesn’t matter at the moment.

But everyone here was thinking of the men, women and children who are fleeing or fighting for their lives in their war-torn country.

With attendance approaching 40,000, the tenth from each ticketing initiative will see around £500,000 go to UNICEF, once all donations have been collected, and that alone made this game worthwhile.

The end result of this game would always be, by and large, completely irrelevant.

But in terms of football, Clarke can be more than satisfied with the performance of his players.

Sure, Poland probably haven’t given it their all considering they have their World Cup play-off final early next week.

But Scotland still looked like a side preparing for their own Qatar qualifier.

It’s actually a shame that these players have to wait a few months before deciding their own destiny, because in many ways they look like they’re ready for it now.

There’s a confidence in the way Clarke’s team plays these days, the way they keep the ball on the deck and get it on their feet.

It wasn’t easy as the Hampden pitch was far too watered and the ball was initially held in the sodden surface.

But there was a clear strategy to get it across the field.

In midfield, Callum McGregor and John McGinn – who wore the captain’s armband in Andy Robertson’s absence – worked superbly alongside Billy Gilmour.

Ryan Jack was likely disappointed to start this game on the bench given his influential performances from Rangers since returning from injury.

But he has a job to do to get into this lineup considering how the players in front of him are sporting dark blue.

For all the positivity of the first-half performance, the downside was Scotland couldn’t take the lead.

Clarke’s side certainly had enough chances.

The first real effort came from Nathan Patterson, who had a sensational run and shot after 10 minutes, making one wonder why the hell he can’t come into a struggling Everton team.


He charged half the length of the pitch forward, clipped inward on his left foot after shifting through the gears and just couldn’t muster enough strength to worry the keeper.

But it was brilliant to watch and set the tone.

Next, Callum McGregor blasted over the top after being set up by McGinn.

Poland showed only fleeting glimpses of their offensive threat in the first half, although the only major chance they had saw them miss an absolute sitter.

Tall defender Bartosz Salamon jumped like a Salamon and should have buried his header but somehow managed to miss the target from close range.

But really, Scotland got stronger and stronger in the first 45 minutes.

More than anyone, Patterson looked like a player eager to impress.

It’s been such a tough few months for him since moving to England and his confidence has undoubtedly taken a hit. You just wouldn’t have known.

The home fans willingly let him score to really make his club boss Frank Lampard sit up and take notice.

And Patterson certainly gave everything he had.

The 20-year-old had his sights set on goal again in the 43rd minute, scoring a volley that was blocked by Lukasz Skorupski.

The No.1 from Bologna reacted a split second later to prevent another attempt from Gilmour as Poland escaped again.

The pattern of play didn’t change much in the second half and in the 57th minute Scotland could have been awarded a penalty if McGinn hadn’t been Mr Honest.

Brilliantly capturing the ball in the middle of the park, Gilmour threaded a perfect ball through to the Aston Villa midfielder, who fired into the box.

Keeper Skorupski ran off his line and scraped McGinn’s boots but the Scotland reserve captain stayed on his feet when he could have gone down and received a penalty.

Scotland showed signs of fatigue with 25 minutes to go and a Scott McTominay slip sent Poland cracking forward but Gilmour made an incredible final deduction from the line to hold the 0-0.

But Scotland broke through in the 67th minute when McGinn lashed a free-kick into the box, which he won himself, with Tierney putting his header into the net.

It looked like victory.

But in the final seconds, Poland stole a tie when they were awarded a penalty by the Irish referee.

Krysztof Piatek celebrates with Kamil Grosicki after scoring for Poland


Krysztof Piatek celebrates with Kamil Grosicki after scoring for PolandPhoto credit: Willie Vass
Scottish star Ryan Jack beats Polish ace Jakub Moder


Scottish star Ryan Jack beats Polish ace Jakub ModerPhoto credit: Willie Vass
Aaron Hickey made his senior debut in Scotland against Poland


Aaron Hickey made his senior debut in Scotland against PolandPhoto credit: Willie Vass

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