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Yalla Shoot :Scotland v Georgia: Euro 2024 qualifier suspended after torrential rain – live | Euro 2024 qualifying

Key events

Apparently the match will resume at 9.15pm if – and it’s a Brobdingnagian if – there’s no more rain.

Next up on the Hampden PA

“Enjoying your Ashes comparisons Rob,” says Michael Keane, “but surely for a proper Bazball effect, Scotland should have declared after eight minutes?”

It’s too soon.

The players are leaving the field. I suspect you’ve already discerned this, but I’ve no idea what’s going on.

GOAL! Norway 2-0 Cyprus (Haaland 56 pen) Would you believe it.

We’re past the scheduled kick-off time. The groundstaff/stewards/anyone who fancies it are still sweeping water off the pitch, and the players are… I was going to say warming up, but many of the Georgina players are just loitering, wondering what kind of civilisation they have stumbled into.

“Thanks for covering the water polo tonight,” writes Ian Gillan. “I was at Hampden in 2012 for one of the early World Cup women’s football games, which featured North Korea. Someone accidentally displayed the South Korea flag on the big screen before the game and caused a major row among the North Korean squad, all of whom refused to come out for about an hour and a half.

“Hampden is a notoriously cold place at the best of times, and the stands weren’t exactly packed for that match. By the time the players were finally coaxed into putting in an appearance I was about the only person left in the stadium. I had to go home at half time because I’ve never felt so cold in my life.

“The fans seem in good spirits tonight, but I hope they’ve packed a jumper for the second half.”

“Loving the different approaches here,” says James Humphries. “Georgia standing about collectively going ‘are you kidding on, man’ while Scotland warm up with a general air of ‘it’s Glasgow in June, you were expecting what, exactly?’. Mind games!”

The tortoise and the hare: it’s like watching the Ashes all over again.

I hate to cast aspersions, but I’m not sure some of the Georgian players are giving 110 per cent in their warm-up. The ball is actually rolling pretty well, a lot better than it did during the first six minutes of the game. It might actually be playable you know.

“I am sat in my flat one street over from Hampden and the minute that announcement came through for provisional restart the rainfall became heavier,” says Zach Simm. “My money is still on abandonment.”

“I remember that era,” says James Humphries. “I know fine well what I meant.”

You and Scott Murray would get on famously, at least until the fifth pint.

‘There’s good news and bad news’

A) The players are out on the field warming up

B) It’s pouring down

“For christ’s sake,” says James Humphries, “how can it be this tense watching Scotland not play? (Yeah, yeah; Levein’s 6-4-0 notwithstanding.)

I thought it was 4-6-0? Give the man some credit.

The match is on! (Provisionally.)

The players are going to warm up for 10 minutes at 8.45pm BST, which is in about five minutes. If everyone is happy with life, the match will resume at 8.55pm.

“I have to admit,” says Peter Oh, “that I didn’t expect Scotland to make such a huge splash in this group.”

This doesn’t look good. The referee has just tried bouncing a ball, and it didn’t even reach shin height. It’s rolling perfectly well, mind you, so maybe that will satisfy the officials.

The Hampden DJ is having some on-the-nose fun

The officials are having another look at the pitch. Conditions have certainly improved, and it’s no longer raining, but my hunch is it will be called off.

“Good news for the nation’s pubs though…” says Tony Barr. “If the game restarts they’ll have done even better on a wet Tuesday than expected. The one I’m in is packed and there’s no sign of drinking being suspended…”

The referee isn’t happy with the pitch. There will be a second inspection at 8.35pm.

The umpires have come out to inspect the outfield. No news yet, but we’ll keep you posted. Apparently if it is abandoned tonight, the match will take place tomorrow evening. Not sure what happens to Callum McGregor’s goal though.

“Alright, I’ll admit it,” says James Humphries. “I did not have ‘act of a vengeful god’ as the way by which the points would get away from us tonight. It’s definitely not raining anymore, btw. Barely spitting; it’s been far too hot anyway.”

You can probably guess what song is being played over the PA

The other game in this group is 25 minutes old. Norway lead Cyprus 1-0 through a goal from … nope, not him.

Taking the positives

“Well this is just typical, isn’t it?” says Simon McMahon. “One of those sporting sliding doors moments, like Henman v Ivanisevic at Wimbledon, or Rose v Mickelson at the Ryder Cup, or Stokes not spilling the catch with Australia eight down at Edgbaston. Match abandoned, Scotland lose the replay and collapse to fourth in the group without picking up another point. Well it was fun while it lasted I suppose.”

The stewards are brushing the water off the pitch. It’s not the most sophisticated operation, I’ll be honest, but I doubt this was in the job description.

Apparently it is still raining, though not as heavily as before the game. I’m not sure we’re going to see any more football tonight. Presumably they could return tomorrow afternoon/evening at a push.

Groundsmen sweep water off the pitch at Hampden Park.
Groundsmen sweep water off the pitch at Hampden Park. Photograph: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images

Match suspended for 20 minutes

7.58 pm I won’t lie, after that heart-stopping, brain-melting Ashes Test I was looking forward to a quiet, uneventful night.

The match has been suspended at Hampden and the players have been taken off the pitch just after Scotland’s goal 🌧

Just a few minutes into the game, the referee brings a halt to proceedings due to surface water on the pitch

Reportedly, the hope is for just a 20 minute delay 🤞 pic.twitter.com/gOyVeqaR9x

— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) June 20, 2023

The players are leaving the field

The match hasn’t been abandoned, as far as I’m aware. It looks like it has stopped raining, so they might just give the groundstaff half an hour to clear the surface water.

Referee Istvan Vad ushers players from both teams off the pitch after the match is suspended due to heavy rainfall.
Referee Istvan Vad ushers players from both teams off the pitch after the match is suspended due to heavy rainfall. Photograph: Mark Leech/Offside/Getty Images

10 min Robertson points to his head and says “the ball’s bouncing here”. He wants to continue, and so would I if my team was 1-0 up.

9 min Now the referee is talking to the two captains, Andy Robertson and Guram Kashia. Robertson gently shoves another Georgian player away.

The referee has run off the field. At first it seemed like there was a VAR check, but now I think he’s talking to some suits about whether to abandon the game. Or perhaps the VAR technology is down because of all the rain.

McGinn’s corner from the right was headed away at the near post. McGregor charged onto the ball, 15 yards out, and lifted a right-foot shot that went through the hand of the diving Mamardashvili and into the net.

GOAL! Scotland 1-0 Georgia (McGregor 6)

Good luck calling it off now – Scotland have scored!

Scotland's Callum McGregor (left) scores his side's first goal.
Scotland’s Callum McGregor (left) scores his side’s first goal. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA
Callum McGregor of Scotland celebrates after scoring the team’s first goal.
Callum McGregor of Scotland celebrates after scoring the team’s first goal. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

6 min Willy Sagnol, the Georgia manager, already seems to be asking for the game to be abandoned. He’s got a point; this is just weird.

5 min What the hell happened there? Lobjanidze cuts inside from the right and hits a left-footed shot from the edge of the area. Gunn leaves it, safe in the knowledge that it’s going wide of the far post – but then it changes direction after landing on the water. It goes wide anyway but for a split-second it looked like there might be a farcical goal.

4 min “Genuine question as to whether the pitch is going to have a meaningful part in a major event,” says Tony Barr. “It’s a boon for anyone who routinely over hits their passes tbf…”

My first touch would be immaculate on this.

3 min Kvaratskhelia tries to run with the ball, whiich is barely moving becaues of the water. This already has a whiff of farce.

1 min Peep peep! The match is under way. Jeez, this pitch is so wet, with a splash of water every time the ball bounces.

Georgia's Otar Kakabadze in action with Scotland's Lyndon Dykes amid the water.
Georgia’s Otar Kakabadze in action with Scotland’s Lyndon Dykes amid the water. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters

There’s a minute’s applause for the mighty Gordon McQueen, who died last week aged 70.

Summer in Glasgow

🗣️ “I think they’ll be more aggressive and more on the front foot.”@Sports_EmmaD, Alan Hutton and Kevin Thomson discuss Steve Clarke’s reign in charge of Scotland, as well as the chances against Georgia tonight 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿#EURO2024 | #SCOGEO pic.twitter.com/6rorggylIV

— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) June 20, 2023

Pitch inspection The referee is happy that the pitch is playable, so here come the players. The weather is almost beyond satire.

“Scotland are operating with just the one Andrew today,” writes Peter Oh, “whereas Georgia have got a Giorgi and a Georges in the starting XI and five Giorgis among their substitutes. Stacked!”

Topical pre-match music

Steve Clarke speaks

We need to be on the front foot tonight, we need to create chances, and putting Billy [Gilmour] in midfield should give us better control in that area.

The lad from Napoli is a really good player, Kvaratskhelia. They’re a good side – they’ve got a number of other good players and their coach has got them very well organised.

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The rain is so heavy that the players have aborted their warm-ups. In this weather it’s more of a pneumonia-up.

Tubthumping department

“Not that I’m scarred or anything,” begins James Humphries, “but I’d just like to point out that after the Spain game, I confidently predicted nicking a result off Norway before somehow blowing it against Georgia (who have done us before, most notably with a 17-year-old debutant goalie). So I reckon 0-1 or 1-2 to Georgia, with one or both of the following: catastrophic defending leading to a Georgia goal out of nowhere, or Lyndon ‘the man with no feet’ Dykes* skying a gilt-edged chance thanks to the aforementioned pedi-impediment.

“Because, c’mon. It would be entirely nonsensical to blow it from here; and so, inevitably, that’s what we’ll do.

* I have a lot of time for Dykes – he always gives maximum effort and makes himself a pain for defenders – and will concede that he appeared to have at least a foot against Norway; but I maintain that’s only because not even he could manage to chest that ball in. The layup for McLean is harder to fit into this theory, I admit.”

The weekend’s action in Group A

The weather at Hampden: biblical

“Until recently the BBC weather app was showing 0% chance of rain,” writes Tony Barr. “This was at the same time it was literally chucking it down. I’ve been to Tblisi a few times (food is amazing and it’s very friendly) and it never rained. Not sure if this is a definitive call as a Scotland advantage however…”

We’ll also keep an eye on Norway v Cyprus, the other game in this group. Spain aren’t playing in this round of fixtures as they’ve been busy winning the Nations League.

Team news: Gilmour starts

Steve Clarke makes one change from the side that started in Norway on Saturday. Billy Gilmour replaces Ryan Christie, which could mean a switch from 3-4-2-1 to 3-5-1-1.

Georgia make four changes from their win over Cyprus. Solomon Kverkvelia, Luka Gagnidze, Lasha Dvali, Saba Lobjanidze replace Luka Lochoshvili, Giorgi Gocholeishvili, Giorgi Chakvetadze and Irakli Azarov.

Scotland (possible 3-5-1-1) Gunn; Porteous, Hendry, Tierney; Hickey, McTominay, Gilmour, McGregor, Robertson; McGinn; Dykes.
Substitutes: Kelly, Clark, Souttar, Shankland, Christie, Cooper, Armstrong, Ferguson, Nisbet, Jack, Taylor, McLean.

Georgia (possible 3-5-2) Marardashvili; Kakabadze, Kashia, Kverkvelia; Gagnidze, Dvali, Kvekveskiri, Kiteishvili, Lobjanidze; Mikautadze, Kvaratskhelia.
Substitutes: Loria, Gugeshashvili, Gvelesiani, Zivzivadze, Davitashvili, Kvilitaia, Gocholeishvili, Lochoshvili, Azarov, Shengelia, Chakvetadze, Altunashvili.

Referee Istvan Vad (Hungary).

Preamble

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the European Championship qualifier between Scotland and Georgia at Hampden Park. They couldn’t, could they? Well, yes, they could, we all know they could, but hopefully Scotland won’t follow rousing wins over Spain and Norway with an anti-climax/shambles at home to Georgia.

A win tonight would put Scotland – who are already five points clear in Group A – within touching distance of automatic qualification for Euro 2024. We shouldn’t underestimate the challenge of Georgia, though. They are second in the group (mainly because of Scotland’s win over Spain, it’s true) and have had a really good run since the former Bayern Munich right-back Willy Sagnol took over as manager during Covid.

Georgia’s last defeat was in October 2021, since when their record is W10 D3 L0. Most of those games have been against third-tier opposition, but they are still a handy side. Like Scotland they were promoted in the Nations League, from League C to B in Georgia’s case, and they have a genius in their team. Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is one of the most exciting, original players in the world.

Georgia aren’t a one-man side – they also have players at Valencia, Bordeaux, Metz and Cremonese – but he is the main threat to Scotland’s hopes.

Okay, fair enough, some would say the main threat to Scotland’s hopes is the last 50 years of Scottish football history, and the fatalism it has created. But apart from that it’s Kvaratskhelia.

Kick off 7.45pm BST.

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