89 mins: Scotland are playing very deep currently and inviting pressure from Cyprus. They need to move up the pitch even though there’s only a few minutes left on the clock.
87 mins: McGinn wins the ball on the edge of the Cyprus area but overhits his pass to McBurnie who was in space and through, allowing the goalkeeper to collect.
85 mins: McGinn chasing down Merkis but clips his heels in order to get the ball, if he had dispossessed him legally he would have been away. Cyprus take a quick corner but McBurnie reads it and heads clear. The referee gives Scotland a free-kick anyway because he’s not whistled for 15 seconds.
83 mins: Cyprus get a couple of corners in quick succession but Scotland deal with them well and clear without fuss.
JR wants to discuss other bad referees: “I’ve been watching the Green Army Derby instead of this game. League leaders Forest Green are down at home 0-1 to Plymouth.The camera is on ground level so it feels like I’m running around on the pitch with the players. It’s pretty neat.
“As for the Scotland game, your description of the crap referee has me intrigued. There’s something fascinating about watching a really terrible refereeing performance. I think I’ll have to watch this game later.”
81 mins: McBurnie latches onto a pass and drives forward, before delaying to wait for teammates. In the end he sends a poor cross behind Burke who has to double back, ending the threat.
79 mins: McBurnie holds off the centre-back and flicks the ball into the path of Burke but his cross is easily cleared.
Christie is clipped on the right touchline and then whips in the free-kick. The goalkeeper comes but gets nowhere near it. Luckily for Pardo, the referee gives a free-kick because McBurnie breathed on him.
77 mins: McKenna is left one-on-one at the back but reads the danger and beats Sotiriou to the ball after good play from Papoulis.
75 mins: Joe makes a valuable point about the referee: “At least he’s been consistent: EVERY corner and goal kick has been called wrong.”
73 mins: Burke is on for Scotland, replacing Forrest down the left. Alaves’ finest will be looking to have another impact against Cyprus, having scored the winner in the reverse fixture.
71 mins: Palmer is up and about after some treatment.
Simon has been in touch regarding the post at 1500. He says: “I think Alun will find that it was Dave Jones who handled at Anfield in 1977. Clearest penalty I’ve ever seen. Even VAR would have given it, but only after a 42 year delay?! BTW, a Lawrence Shankland-less Dundee United have just taken the lead against Queen of the South at Tannadice.”
69 mins: Papoulis sends out the ball to Demetriou on the right flank, he lifts in a cross for Kosti to attack at the back post but his diving header from six yards out goes inches wide of the post. There is a problem for Scotland, though, as Palmer goes down in his own box.
67 mins: The referee gives handball against Ioannou, who seemed to chest the ball. God this ref is dreadful. How is he in charge of this match?
65 mins: Forrest breaks down the left but his cross is straight at the goalkeeper. The Cypriot fans have finally woken up, having been quiet for the majority of the match.
63 mins: The delay for treatment to Naismith an introduction of McBurnie have slowed things down again.
61 mins: Naismith goes down in a heap after seemingly getting his foot stuck in the turf. He manages to get himself up in the end but McBurnie is waiting to come on.
59 mins: Demetriou and Taylor clash on the touchline after the former kicks the Scotland full-back on the knee. Taylor didn’t actually do anything in response but is still booked. The main reason for his caution is that the referee is awful. Demetriou should have been sent off.
Cyprus get a corner and it is headed behind again by a Scotland defender but the referee gives a goal kick, obviously.
57 mins: McGinn goes in the book for a cynical trip on Demetriou to stop a counter-attack.
55 mins: Naismith has not played much this season and is looking a bit tired already. Maybe we will see McBurnie soon.
GOAL! Cyprus 1-2 Scotland (McGinn, 53)
It’s that man McGinn again! Forrest and Taylor combine on the left, with the latter sending a bouncing cross which McGinn manages to control into the bottom corner. It’s an excellent finish from the Villa man. Five goals in five for McGinn!
51 mins: Palmer bursts into the box and pulls the ball back for his forwards to attack. After a few failed attempts to shoot, the ball lands at Naismith’s feet but he gets stuck and his shot is weak.
49 mins: I think that goal is just what this game needs. Scotland looked sluggish for a while before the break, meaning they might be take the hint.
GOAL! Cyprus 1-1 Scotland (Efrem, 47)
McKenna goes into the book after lunging from behind on Kosti for absolutely no reason whatsoever. The resulting free-kick is lifted into the box and headed as far as Efrem who watches the ball drop and volleys it into the top corner from 16 yards with great technique. WHAT A FINISH!
Just made a caretiere, so hopefully I will not break it and stand on a shard of glass for the sake of a political anecdote.
We are getting to see the Christie goal again, which is a lovely sight. I think when a player opens up their body and a curl a shot into the corner is one of the most aesthetically pleasing.
Belgium are also in this group, so read this cracking interview with Vincent Kompany.
Half-time: Cyprus 0-1 Scotland
Cyprus should have taken the lead but the officials failed to notice the ball crossing the line. Instead it is Scotland who go into the break with the advantage thanks to their finest moment of the match, a wonderful curling shot from distance, courtesy of Ryan Christie.
The most interesting thing so far is how bad the referee is. Oh … he’s just booked the Cyprus head coach for moaning about a free-kick going against his team. Classic.
45 mins: The tempo of the game has slowed considerably in recent minutes. The Cyprus substitution did not help matters but it seems everyone is just waiting for the half-time whistle.
Two minutes added on.
44 mins: Gallagher tries to clear it but instead just whacks it into McGinn’s face from five yards away and watches the ball bounce away for a throw-in.
42 mins: Scotland camp themselves on the edge of the Cyprus box but cannot find enough space to do anything of note. In the end, Forrest has a shot which is blocked.
40 mins: Cyprus need to make a change. Karo’s got a problem with his back and it being walked off the pitch. His replacement is Kastanos.
38 mins: Christie whips in a corner from the right but it is headed up and out, only for Palmer to take control of it and fire a shot from 30 yards, which is deflected wide.
36 mins: Friend of the show Nicholas Ioannou is actually playing left-back today. The Apoel skipper is usually a centre-back but he is doing a decent job of getting forward and puts in a dangerous cross only for a deflection to take it into the arms of Marshall.
34 mins: The referee blows his whistle for more pushing in the box. I am not sure our man in pink, Harald Lechner, has ever seen a game of professional football before.
32 mins: Naismith flicks the ball on for McGinn to chase, he then gets into a tussle with Karo in the box, which the referee lets go despite having his whistle in his mouth. Cyprus eventually recover the ball and clear.