Barry Bannan in focus: How did the Sheffield Wednesday star do in Scotland's win over Slovakia?
Barry Bannan was the surprise starter for Scotland as they took on Slovakia in their crucial World Cup qualifier at Hampden.
Here, Press Association Sport assess the 27-year-old's performance.
Boss Gordon Strachan was convinced to throw the Sheffield Wednesday man into his line-up after watching him run the show for his club against Leeds on Sunday. But there was little sign of the inventiveness that had hallmarked his Hillsborough display. He put over a decent early cross which nearly found Matt Phillips but for most of the match he was far too deep to having a meaningful influence on attempts to unlock Slovakia.
Replicating the energy normally provided by the injured duo Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong provides the side was always going to be a tall order for the pint-sized midfielder. Strachan obviously felt his previous international experience was of more use as he opted against going with young pretenders John McGinn and Callum McGregor from the start. But it did not work as plan as Bannan failed to get going during a flat first 45, although he was better after the break as the Scots turned up the heat in desperate search of a winner.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
Bannan was not one of the four Scots who started the match walking a suspension tightrope. Yet he almost put himself under pressure with a needless lunge on Juraj Kucka just 10 minutes in. In the final third, where the Scots needed their players to have ice in their veins, Bannan was guilty of rushing the brief glimpses of goal he saw. He found himself denied by Martin Skrtel's block just before the break but should have done a lot better midway through the second period than drag a shot across the box when he had better options inside.
Bannan may not have had the desired impact Strachan was looking for but the manager will care not one bit after seeing his side grind out the narrow win that keeps their World Cup dreams alive.