Nathan Patterson believes Scotland’s World Cup qualifying win over Moldova sets Steve Clarke’s side up nicely for the crunch game against Austria on Tuesday night.
The 19-year-old Rangers right-back made his first start for the national side on Saturday night in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 40,869 fans – the biggest at Hampden Park since before the pandemic – and it was his drive in the 13th minute which was parried by visiting keeper Cristian Avram to allow striker Lyndon Dykes to finish from close range.
The Scots missed several more chances to make the 1-0 scoreline more emphatic but the victory took them into third place in Group F with eight points from five fixtures, two points behind Israel, who beat Austria 5-2, and seven behind runaway group leaders Denmark, who have the maximum 15 points.
As the battle to take second place and a play-off spot behind inevitable group winners Denmark hots up, Scotland travel to Vienna for what could be a pivotal fixture.
Patterson, who won his third cap, said: “We obviously created loads of chances but we never had the clinical finish at the end, but we did well to keep a clean sheet, see the game out and got the win.
“We got the three points, which was the main focus, and now we can go over to Austria with a little bit of form and hopefully we can take the game to them.
“You need to start fast and take the game to the opposition and I think we did that.
“Sometimes we were a little slack in our press but in the second half we got it together and didn’t allow them any opportunities.
“The crowd is a boost. Obviously we are getting the crowds back in the stadiums for a bit more atmosphere and it’s enjoyable.
“They got behind us and it showed in the performance.”
Patterson caught the eye, particularly in the first-half, with his driving runs down the right flank which pinned back the group minnows.
However, man-of-the-match was former Gers youth player, 20-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour, who is now on loan at Norwich City from Chelsea and who was winning his fifth cap.
Patterson said: “It is obviously great to be picked but also great to be picked with someone you have worked with through the levels and it is good to see young players getting opportunities.
“We both play with confidence and no fear and it shows on the pitch.
“You have to be confident, that is the main thing. You can’t hide and you can’t be shy, you have to get on the ball and show what you are made of and I feel both me and Billy have done that since we have come in.”
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