63 min: Mikautadze and Kvaratskhelia bear down on the Scotland box. Ferguson and Porteous stand firm and ensure there’s no way through. This game has suddenly opened up entertainingly. More goals to come, surely.
Georgia v Scotland: Euro 2024 qualifying – live | Euro 2024 qualifying
61 min: Patterson and McLean combine to win a corner down the left. McTominay whips it to the near post. Dykes sends a powerful flicked header towards the top left, but Mamardashvili claws it out. So close to a second equaliser!
60 min: The resulting free kick is swung in from the left by McGinn. McLean flicks it on to nobody in particular. But Scotland win the ball back quickly and McGinn has a whack from distance. The ball deflects and loops high, then back down into the arms of Mamardashvili.
59 min: Kverkvelia is booked for an agricultural slide through the back of Ferguson.
58 min: Kvaratskhelia’s shot wasn’t tight in the corner, mind. A question mark over Clark. It wasn’t an appalling error, and the shot was hit fiercely, but the ball was within the keeper’s reach.
A second goal for Kvaratskhelia! The corner’s worked out from right to left. Kvaratskhelia cuts in from the wing, enters the box, and arrows low and hard into the bottom right! Scotland weren’t level for long
56 min: Shengelia shapes to cross long, then tries to surprise Clark by whipping the free kick towards the top-right corner. Clark gets over well to push around the post with two strong hands. But from the corner …
55 min: … so having said that, Mikautadze makes good down the inside right and draws a clumsy foul from McLean. A free kick in a dangerous position, just to the right of the Scotland box.
54 min: A simple long pass nearly releases Ferguson down the middle. Georgia, who flew out of the blocks at the start of this second half, suddenly look befuddled.
52 min: McLean and Taylor combine down the inside-left channel. A better ball from the latter would have teed up Dykes on the edge of the box, but he rolls it inaccurately. What a shame.
51 min: McTominay’s goal record for Scotland is now officially absurd. Seven goals in seven qualifying matches! He’s not been too shabby for Manchester United either. One of the players of the season so far.
Who else? A seventh goal for Scott McTominay in this campaign! And it’s a nice one. Some crisp triangulation down the middle by the Scots. McLean then slips to McTominay, just to the right of the D. He digs it out from under his feet and whistles a low drive into the bottom right!
47 min: Kvaratskhelia turns on the jets and skins Porteous down the left. Patterson comes across to concede a corner. The set piece is cut back for Chakvetadze, who blazes over from distance.
46 min: A slight surprise that Gilmour has been hooked. He was one of Scotland’s better players in the first half.
Georgia get the second half underway. Lewis Ferguson and Kenny McLean have replaced Ryan Christie and Billy Gilmour.
Half-time entertainment. Hoagy Carmichael might have had a different state on his mind, but yearning is yearning. Oh Scotland.
It’s happening again.
45 min +2: Porteous looks long for Dykes. Easy for the Georgian defence. It’s better when Scotland pass it around, and they work it wide to Patterson, whose low cross is hacked clear.
45 min +1: The first of three additional first-half minutes ticks by.
45 min: Kochorashvili again goes down holding his face, this time in the vague environs of McGregor. The referee shows no interest in his carry-on.
44 min: All of Scotland’s best work has come down Patterson’s flank. He digs out an excellent cross from near the right-hand corner flag. Christie wins a header at the far stick but unconvincingly so. Still, baby steps for the Scottish attack.
43 min: Mikautadze nutmegs Porteous with a backheel. Dearie me.
41 min: McGinn slides a cute pass down the right to release Patterson, who checks back to make some space, then swings a dangerous ball into the middle. There are no white shirts, sadly for Scotland, though Mamardashvili is confused by his own defender Kashia and bats the ball away in an unconvincing style. Again, there’s nobody in Scottish white to take advantage of the loose ball.
39 min: Kvaratskhelia is fine to continue. “I think it was on these very MBM pages that a reader dubbed Scott McTominay the Scottish Maradona (or something like that) for his recent crucial goal-getting exploits for his country. Well, McMaradominay is currently being shown up by Kvaradona! Will the real Maradona please stand up?” Peter Oh, ladies and gentlemen. He’s here all week. Try the chakapuli.
38 min: Kvaratskhelia stays down holding his arm, having landed awkwardly. On comes the physio with some magic spray.
37 min: Christie is booked for sliding into the back of Kvaratskhelia. He can have no complaints.
35 min: Scotland come again, though. McGinn is in a lively mood and he dribbles down the right before swinging one into the mixer. Kverkvelia is forced to head over for a corner, from which … yep, nothing, again. An easy evening for Mamardashvili in the Georgia goal so far.
34 min: … nothing.
33 min: A lull. Then Kverkvelia needlessly comes through the back of Christie, conceding a free kick out on the left. Scotland line up on the edge of the box, and …
31 min: The referee’s missing quite a bit. Porteous stands on Kvaratskhelia’s foot; again, no free kick, no yellow card. Scotland the beneficiaries this time. “The preamble to the 2016 game, with its reasons for Scottish optimism in Robertson, Forrest and Gauld, got me thinking,” begins Simon McMahon. “Those three named players now have 105 Scotland caps between them. Ryan Gauld has contributed none of them, despite playing fifty games for Dundee United as a teenager, resulting in a big money move at age 18 to Portugal, where he spent seven seasons before moving to North America and carving a successful career in MLS with Vancouver Whitecaps. A case of out of sight, out of mind? I mean, Kevin Kyle was capped ten times.”
30 min: Gilmour tries to release Patterson down the right with a long rake but only succeeds in blootering the ball out for a goal kick. Mamardashvili hasn’t had a save to make yet.
28 min: Scotland should be level. McGinn is skittled out on the right, and Gilmour swings the free kick right onto the head of Dykes, free six yards out. Dykes steers a weak header wide left. He had to hit the target at the very least. Huge chance.
27 min: Scotland aren’t lying down, though, and Dykes nearly bursts clear down the right only to be tugged back by Kashia. No free kick and no card, another strange decision.
26 min: … but this is all about Kvaratskhelia, who now feeds Chakvetadze down the inside-left channel. Chakvetadze creams a shot across Clark and towards the top right, but the keeper extends fully to parry and stop Georgia going two up. Dykes deflects the loose ball out for a corner, from which nothing comes. The hosts look dangerous every time they go forward.
25 min: Kvaratskhelia twists Patterson’s blood out on the left flank. He looks to have got past his man, but stumbles, allowing Patterson to get back in position and usher the ball out for a goal kick. Kvaratskhelia has a sly kick at Patterson as the pair pass the byline. He’s lucky the referee didn’t spot it.
23 min: McTominay comes in from the right and rolls a diagonal pass to Christie, who takes a touch to make some room on the edge of the box … then takes another, heavier one that allows Kverkvelia to intercept and clear. For a second, things opened up for Scotland there.
21 min: McGinn has a wee nibble at Chakvetadze in midfield, much to Kvaratskhelia’s annoyance. Some shoving and finger pointing in the bar-room style. The referee comes across and reminds them both that they’re grown men. We play on.
19 min: McGinn wins a corner off Shengelia out on the right. It was a tough battle and the Georgian requires some treatement. He’s good to continue, though, then when the corner’s taken, McGinn spins and shoots. It’s blocked by Kverkvelia. McGinn claims a handball, but there’s nothing happening there.
17 min: Taylor was nowhere to be seen there. Kakabadze had acres out on the wing. Some questions for the Scotland defence to answer. But what a lovely move it was from a Georgian perspective.
This is a gorgeous goal. Chakvetadze wanders in from the left and curls a glorious diagonal pass to Kakabadze on the right. Kakabadze immediately crosses low. Kvaratskhelia gets ahead of Porteous and slides home, Clark with no chance.
14 min: Chakvetadze skitters in from the left flank and has a pop from distance. Clark takes his first meaningful touch on his full debut, smothering confidently.
13 min: The game settles a little. Now it’s Georgia’s turn to pass the ball patiently in their own half.
11 min: Replays suggest Patterson caught more of Kochorashvili’s shoulder than face, but either way, throwing out an arm didn’t seem a risk worth taking. Now he’s up against Kvaratskhelia on a yellow. It could be a long evening for the Everton right-back.
9 min: McTominay drives down the inside-right channel and goes over near the D. He claims Kashia had brought him down, but the referee’s not having any of it.
8 min: Patterson gets in front of Kochorashvili, then sticks out an arm to maintain his lead in the footrace. He catches Kochorashvili in the mush, and goes into the book. A soft but pointless booking.
7 min: Georgia waste little time in launching another attack through Kvaratskhelia. This time he swans down the left and Porteous does very well to cut out his low cross. A lively opening.
6 min: Gilmour and McGinn combine smoothly down the right and nearly release Patterson on the overlap. Shengelia slides in to concede the corner. Gilmour takes, cutting it back for That Man McTominay, who lashes a speculative long-distance strike over the bar.
4 min: Kvaratskhelia drives down the middle but loses possession, allowing McGregor to counter at speed. He attempts to find Christie down the inside-left channel but rolls the ball harmlessly out for a goal kick.
2 min: The match ball was swapped just before kick off. Now the referee’s not happy with the new one either. Third time lucky, then.
1 min: A few boos from the home fans as Scotland hog possession and stroke it around the back.
John McGinn, captaining Scotland in the absence of Andy Robertson, exchanges pennants with his opposite number Guram Kashia … then we’re off! Scotland get the ball rolling.
The teams are out! Georgia in red, Scotland second-choice white. The Boris Paichadze National Stadium in Tbilisi isn’t full, but there are 1,500 members of the Tartan Army in attendance and the atmosphere is superb. We’ll be off in a couple of minutes!
There’s no pre-match pow-wow with Steve Clarke on Viaplay. In lieu of such chat, here’s our man Ewan Murray’s preview of tonight’s game, which will be Clarke’s 50th in charge of his country.
By way of balance, here’s how things panned out the last time Scotland rocked up in Tbilisi …
… and for those desirous of some proper retro MBM action, this is what painfully unfolded in the same city in 2007. None of it augurs well for the Scots.
Here’s what happened when the teams met earlier this year in Glasgow. Yes, the weather was miserable. Yes, Scott McTominay scored.
Scotland boss Steve Clarke makes four changes to the starting XI named for the last qualifier against Spain. Billy Gilmour, Nathan Patterson, Greg Taylor and Zander Clark take the places of Andrew Robertson, Aaron Hickey and Angus Gunn, all of whom are out altogether, and Jack Hendry, who drops to the bench. Clark is making his first international start in goal, having made his debut in the second half of the friendly in France.
Georgia: Mamardashvili, Kakabadze, Kvirkvelia, Kashia, Lochoshvili, Shengelia, Chakvetadze, Kvekveskiri, Kochorashvili, Kvaratskhelia, Mikautadze.
Subs: Mekvabishvili, Altunashvili, Azarovi, Gelashvili, Gocholeishvili, Gugeshashvili,
Davitashvili, Mamuchashvili, Volkovi, Loria, Kalandadze, Zivzivadze.
Scotland: Clark, Patterson, Porteous, McKenna, Taylor, Gilmour, McGregor, McTominay, McGinn, Dykes, Christie.
Subs: McLean, Cooper, Brown, Doig, Ralston, Ferguson, Hendry, Shankland, McCrorie, Armstrong, Jack, Kelly.
Referee: Aleksandar Stavrev (North Macedonia).
Scotland don’t need to win this one – they’ve already qualified for Euro 2024 with two games to spare – but they’d surely like to. They’ve got a three-game losing streak to snap for a start … and what a streak it is: the first time in history Scotland have lost three in a row by a margin of at least two goals. Though given those matches were against three of the best teams in the world – England, Spain and France – they shouldn’t worry too much about that statistical quirk.
More important is securing a place in pot two of the Euro 2024 draw, and wins over Georgia and Norway would guarantee that. Who knows, if Spain surprisingly slip up against either Cyprus or Georgia (yeah OK, but y’know) they could even squeak through as group winners and a top seed. Hey, dreaming is free, we’re allowed.
Only problem is, Scotland have a dreadful competitive record in Georgia. Played two, lost two, in Euro qualifiers in 2007 and 2015. And while Scotland have lost their last three games to the cumulative tune of 9-2, Georgia have won their last two by an aggregate of 12-0. Admittedly those matches were against Thailand and Cyprus, but you can only beat what’s put in front of you. Suffice to say Scotland have a job of work on here tonight. Matches involving Georgia are producing an average of just over four goals a game at the moment, so one way or another this could be a lot of fun. Kick-off is at 5pm. It’s on!