Roman Hubník headed the only goal of the game as the Czech Republic beat Scotland 1-0 to get off the mark in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group I. The Hertha BSC Berlin defender finally ended the visitors' stoic resistance with 21 minutes remaining at the Eden Stadium to salve the pain of last month's surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Lithuania.
Unbeaten after two games at kick-off, Scotland arrived in Prague intent on maintaining that record and adding to the Czechs' frustrations. Michal Bílek's men often found their way to goal barred by a well-drilled wall of yellow-shirted defenders, who only looked vulnerable when Tomáš Rosický darted towards them.
The Czech Republic were rarely ruffled at the back themselves as Scotland ventured forward only tentatively. James Morrison's nimble footwork almost produced an opening, yet it was a miscued headed clearance from home debutant Marek Suchý that brought the biggest scare. As a keenly-contested half drew to a close, the hosts gave themselves hope a breakthrough could be made. A Hubník header tested Allan McGregor before the Scotland goalkeeper rushed to smother Tomáš Necid's close-range effort following good work from Michal Kadlec.
With Scotland reluctant to emerge from their shell, the Czechs pressed incessantly, though their best opening came when Craig Levein's men had made a rare foray forward – McGregor brilliantly pawing aside Jan Polák's well-placed header after a sweeping counterattack.
The goalkeeper could do little, though, when Rosický's vicious corner was flicked on and Hubník nodded in from close range. Scotland could have ended up further in the arrears but Roman Bednář's stabbed shot rolled narrowly wide with McGregor wrong-footed. Next up for Scotland is a daunting date with reigning world and European champions Spain on Tuesday when the Czech Republic travel to Liechtenstein.
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