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McGinn on the double in Scotland's comeback win as their focus also switches to March

Steve Clarke’s side finished their Euro 2020 qualifying Group I campaign with a 3-1 win over Kazakhstan.

John McGinn celebrates his equaliser against Kazakhstan.
John McGinn celebrates his equaliser against Kazakhstan.

SCOTLAND CAPPED OFF their Euro 2020 qualifying Group I campaign with a 3-1 win over Kazakhstan, as John McGinn and Steven Naismith completed a second-half comeback at Hampden Park.

A drab first-half display saw Scotland — who have been guaranteed a play-off place throughout qualification thanks to their performances in the Uefa Nations League — fall behind to Baktiyor Zainutdinov’s 34th-minute stunner.

However, McGinn’s deflected free-kick restored parity within three minutes of the restart and the turnaround was complete when captain Naismith bundled home.

A third straight win was sealed in stoppage time — McGinn sweeping home from a low cross to add gloss to a fine second-half display from Steve Clarke’s side.

Clarke made no changes from the side that claimed a 2-1 win over Cyprus on Saturday, but despite dominating possession through the first half, a low effort from Ryan Christie was the closest the hosts came to an opener.

Kazakhstan showed no such wastefulness; Zainutdinov picking out the top-left corner with a sensational, pinpoint strike that left David Marshall rooted to the spot.

Scotland came out with renewed vigour after the interval, though, and were swiftly on level terms when McGinn’s powerful free-kick took a wicked deflection off Bauyrzhan Islamkhan.

James Forrest seemed set to double Scotland’s tally three minutes later, only to slice wide, before Naismith blazed a close-range effort over.

Naismith made up for his miss in the 64th minute, however, taking advantage of sloppy defending from Aleksandr Marochkin to turn home a deflected cross with his shoulder.

McGinn then had the final say, getting on the end of Greg Taylor’s delivery to wrap up a comfortable triumph.

What does it mean? Scotland on the up heading into play-offs

It has been a disappointing campaign for Scotland, but Clarke’s side do have the chance to qualify via the play-offs and, after four successive defeats, they have now won their last three Group I matches to at least earn a lift in confidence.

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Scotland will now await Friday’s play-off draw, when they will find out their opponents for March’s matches. They’ll face Hungary, Israel or Romania at Hampden in their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final.

Should they win that, it’ll be either Norway or Serbia in the final.

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