Miller, Mackie key Scotland win
Kenny Miller and Jamie Mackie scored in either half to give Scotland a 2-1 win over Cyprus in a friendly on Friday.
Scotland took the lead in the 23rd minute when Miller controlled a high cross from Christophe Berra and his arching, 18-yard shot sailed over Cyprus goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides and into the top right corner of the net.
The second came in the 57th when Mackie picked up a poor clearance attempt by the Cypriot defense and his low shot from the top of the box found the corner of the net.
Cyprus pulled one back two minutes later when Dimitris Christofi dribbled into the box and fired a low, hard shot past goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Scotland dominated possession but didn’t overwhelm the Cypriots, who hit the woodwork twice in the first half.
”I’m pleased with a victory away from home,” Scotland coach Craig Levein said. ”We were always going to have to defend well tonight, and I didn’t expect us to have complete domination and not give up any chances.”
Cyprus coach Nikos Nioplias said his young team showed promise by creating several good chances, but was critical of how easily players lapsed into costly mistakes and an overall lack of fitness.
”I have a clearer picture of the team now and we’ll work on getting better,” Nioplias said.
Cyprus could have opened the scoring in 17th when striker Giorgios Efrem chested down a long pass at the top of the Scottish box, but McGregor pushed his shot onto the crossbar.
A 25-yard blast from an unmarked Sinisa Dobrasinovic in the 26th bounced off McGregor’s right post.
Jamie Mackie again came close in the 32nd with a solo effort, dribbling past three Cypriot defenders, but his high left-footed shot was pushed over the crossbar by Georgallides.
Scotland almost scored two minutes later but Miller failed to push the ball into an open Cypriot net after clashing with defender Stelios Parpas in a goalmouth scramble.
Mackie’s close-range shot in the 53rd after a through ball from Miller was blocked at the last second by a Cypriot defender. In a similar situation three minutes later at the opposite end, Christophe Berra blocked Dobrasinovic’s 10-yard shot.
Marinos Satsias’ long-range shot in the 81st just sailed over the Scottish crossbar while Scotland substitute Grant Hanley’s 18-yard shot in injury time was saved by goalkeeper Tasos Kissas, who replaced Georgallides at the start of the second half.
Cyprus: Antonis Georgallides (Tasos Kissas, 46), Giorgos Merkis, Anthos Solomou, Dimitris Christofi, Stelios Parpas (Marios Nikolaou, 59), Marinos Satsias, Sinisa Dobrasinovic (Georgios Vasileiou, 74) Nektarios Alexandrou (Antonis Katsis, 69), Andreas Avraam (Nestor Mytides, 46), Jason Demetriou (Valentinos Sielis, 46), Giorgos Efrem.
Scotland: Allan McGregror, Steven Whittaker, Philip Bardsley (Stephen Crainey, 74) Christophe Berra, Gary Caldwell, Don Cowie, Darren Fletcher (James McArthur, 63) James Morrison, Kenny Miller (Craig Mackail-Smith, 63) Jamie Mackie (Jordan Rhodes, 87) Barry Robson (Craig Conway, 80).