Skip to main content

A look back at Scotland’s play-off record ahead of Israel clash

SOCCER Scotland goal
(Image credit: Toby Melville)

Scotland host Israel on Thursday in the delayed Euro 2020 play-off semi-finals.

The game is Scotland’s first play-off encounter for 17 years.

Here, the PA news agency looks back on Scotland’s previous play-off challenges.

Scotland 2 Czechoslovakia 4 (1961)

Ian St John's double was not enough for Scotland

Ian St John’s double was not enough for Scotland (PA)

The two teams met in Brussels in a one-off encounter to see who reached the following year’s World Cup finals after both finished on six points in their qualifying group, which also featured the Republic of Ireland. Ian St John twice gave Scotland the lead but Czechoslovakia took the game to extra time with a controversial late goal after a shot bounced off the underside of the bar and down near the line. Still angered by the equaliser, Scotland midfielders Paddy Crerand and Jim Baxter bizarrely fought over a sponge before the extra 30 minutes started. John White hit the bar, but a Scotland team missing the injured Bill Brown, Billy McNeill, Duncan Mackay, Alex Scott and Davie Wilson, ultimately missed out to a side that lost to Brazil in the final in Chile the following year.

Scotland 2 Australia 0 (1985)

See more

Scotland pipped Wales to second spot in their World Cup qualifying group behind Spain to set up a play-off against the winners of the Oceania section. Davie Cooper drilled home a free-kick and Kenny Dalglish set up Frank McAvennie to seal a first-leg win for new boss Alex Ferguson at Hampden. Scotland finished off the job in Melbourne.

Scotland 1 England 2 (1999)

See more

Scotland came close to upsetting Kevin Keegan’s England side in this Euro 2000 play-off despite suffering a 2-0 first-leg defeat. With Scotland missing freshly injured holding midfielder Paul Lambert, Paul Scholes twice escaped his marker to score at Hampden. Billy Dodds hit the bar and Kevin Gallacher scuffed a good chance in a tight affair, and Scotland were written off ahead of the trip to Wembley. But Don Hutchison headed them into a half-time lead and England needed a brilliant reaction stop from David Seaman to prevent Christian Dailly taking the game to extra-time.

Scotland 1 Holland 6 (2003)

See more

James McFadden combined well with Darren Fletcher to fire Scotland to a memorable Hampden win against Dick Advocaat’s side in the first leg of the European Championship qualifier. The Dutch romped home in Amsterdam four days later, though, with Ruud Van Nistelrooy grabbing a hat-trick and former Rangers defender Frank De Boer also on target.