Sheffield Wednesday: Palmer avenges debut disaster in Scotland comeback against Kazakhstan
Liam Palmer went some way to avenging the humiliating nature of his international debut as his Scotland side beat Kazakhstan 3-1 in Glasgow.
Tallying up his fifth cap, the Worksop-born full-back made the cross that lead to Scotland’s second goal against the team that hammered them 3-0 back in March – in what was described by national newspapers as Scotland’s worst-ever performance.
The lifelong Owl became something of a poster boy for that failure but has done well to come back in Caledonian colours, deputising impressively in the absence of Premier League stars Andrew Robertson and Kieran Tierney.
History was in danger of repeating itself, though, when Palmer gave the ball away on 34 minutes. It fell to Rostov midfielder Baktiyar Zaynutdinov, who took advantage of more lacklustre Scotland defending to produce a classy finish and put the Kazakhs 1-0 up.
A win would’ve given Scotland a third-placed finish in what has been an otherwise disastrous Euro 2020 qualifying group and a win they got.
In-form Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn hammered home a free kick on the edge of the box via a deflection just after the break.
Celtic’s in-form winger James Forrest missed a guilt-edged chance on 50 minutes but struck over and with Scotland nerves calmed, they produced the better of the play in a second half that Scotland dominated.
And it was Palmer’s marauding run into the Kazakhstan box that created Scotland’s second on 64 minutes. Racing onto Ryan Christie’s through-ball, his cross was blocked but fell to the head of Steven Naismith in the six-yard box, who out-jumped goalkeeper Dmytro Nepohodov for his 10th international goal.
Kazakh protestations for a foul were ignored and Scotland missed a host of chances to extend their lead until McGinn doubled-up to make it three just before full time.
Scottish attention now turns to the UEFA Nations League play-offs in March, where they can qualify for one of the remaining Euro 2020 places.