Georgia 2-2 Scotland: Lawrence Shankland comes off bench to recue late point in Tbilisi

Lawrence Shankland scores for Scotland in Georgia
Lawrence Shankland's equaliser was his first Scotland goal in four years and 34 days, since netting against San Marino in October 2019.

Lawrence Shankland's stoppage-time equaliser rescued a point for Scotland as they kept their slim hopes of topping their Euro 2024 qualifying group alive with a late draw in Georgia.

With the Scots - who booked their spot in Germany last month - lacking attacking inspiration, the Hearts captain was thrown on and nodded in fellow substitute Stuart Armstrong's cross with 92 minutes on clock in Tbilisi.

That dramatic equaliser, which prevents Steve Clarke losing a fourth consecutive game in his 50th match in charge, came after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia twice gave Georgia the lead.

The Napoli winger first met a low ball from Otar Kakabadze to slide in his 13th goal in 27 caps, then took that tally to 14 just before the hour when he cut in off the left and drilled low past Zander Clark, who was making his first start.

That strike came just eight minutes after free-scoring Scott McTominay netted his seventh goal of the qualifying campaign with a deflected second-half equaliser from the edge of the home box.

But that effort was one of the few opportunities the Scots had created until Shankland rose at the back post to net his second international goal.

To secure top spot in Group A, Scotland will need to beat Norway at Hampden in their final qualifier on Sunday (19:45 GMT) and hope Spain lose at home to the Georgians.

Travelling to Tbilisi - where Scotland's Euro 2008 and 2016 bids were dealt infamous blows - relatively care free was quite the luxury for Clarke and his players.

If you told any member of the Tartan Army that would be the case at the start of this campaign, they would have assumed their nations hopes were over with two games remaining.

But despite going four games without a win, that conditioned pessimism continues to evaporate under this team, who again found a way to get a result in a game they were second best in for long spells.

Georgia, who had 13 wins from their last 20 games prior to Thursday, were always at arm's length as Clark's sharp first-half save from Levan Shengelia prevented the home side going two up.

But, McTominay's fortuitous leveller aside, the issue for Scotland was they were struggling to create many clear-cut chances with their lion's share of the ball, while anything they did create was being passed up.

Lyndon Dykes glanced Billy Gilmour's free-kick wide in the first half before seeing another saved at the near post after the break.

It was the Queens Park Rangers striker was the man to make way for Shankland, who demonstrated the composure Dykes was lacking just seven minutes after coming on by planting a header of his own past the keeper in the dying stages.

Player of the match - Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia
In an attacking sense, the Napoli winger was head and shoulders above any other player on the park

Match stats

  • This was the sixth meeting in all competitions between these sides, and the first in which the home side has failed to win. Scotland had lost both previous visits to Georgia without scoring.

  • As it stands, only Romelu Lukaku (10) and Cristiano Ronaldo (9) have scored more goals in Euro 2024 qualifying than Scotland's Scott McTominay (7).

  • Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has been involved in 15 goals in his last 17 appearances for Georgia in all competitions (11 goals, 4 assists).

  • McTominay's seven goals in qualifying is the joint-most by a Scotland player in a single campaign, along with Steven Fletcher (Euro 2016) and John McGinn (Euro 2020).

  • Georgia had six shots on target, their joint most this European Championship qualifying along with the six they had against Cyprus last month.