A new feature where we focus on a game that doesn't involve DAFC
Making a late decision to go to the game, the result was significantly more pleasing than the Scotland team's performance. In his post-match press conference, manager Gordon Strachan was typically prickly. Once a sore loser, he has now adopted the manner of a sore winner. Does it matter if his team keeps winning? Probably not.
A half full Hampden greeted the players and were soon cheering when Christophe Berra put Scotland into a 9th minute lead. Scotland dominated possession but rarely tested the Malta goalkeeper. There were, according to Strachan, 25 shots at goal. Few of them were serious attempts ON goal, however.
The second half was only 4 minutes old when Leigh Griffiths doubled Scotland's lead with a tap in. The crowd wanted more goals, but did not get any; expectations had to be readjusted to avoid a sense of disappointment, and so any number of football cliches were trotted out to make the result seem more satisfying than it actually was: getting the job done; seeing the game out, etc, etc.
Scotland have 2 excellent left backs and one of them, Kieran Tierney, is being played at right back to allow both players a place in the starting 11. While Andy Robertson got up the left side of the pitch with ease, Tierney had to switch to his left foot over on the right side of the park, and so was less effective.
This win plus last Friday's far more impressive victory in Lithuania means that Scotland can still qualify for a World Cup play-off place. If Strachan can guide his team to wins over Slovakia and Slovenia, he will be hailed as a kind of Scottish Mourinho: a testy little man who doesn't exude warmth but who gets the best out of his players and - as stated above - gets the job done.
One final point: quite how James Forrest was given 7 out of 10 in the Sun and Daily Record reports is a mystery. This is a player who at one point in the second half, took 3 touches in an unchallenged area near the side of the pitch and succeeded in walking the ball out of play. He must have many friends in the Scottish media.
Photos (Hampden does not allow cameras, so some of these pictures are not the usual standard for this site, as they were taken by phone, and mostly focus on the crowd and stadium).
Photos by Pars Review
Scotland v Malta Vlog, hosted by DA Talk YouTube channel: goo.gl/D5x2sm