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Nothing to separate Lithuania and Scotland

Lituania 0-0 Scotland
The Group I rivals started their bids with a goalless draw in what is the fourth successive EURO campaign in which they have met.

Saulius Mikoliunas (left) challenges Scotland's Scott Brown
Saulius Mikoliunas (left) challenges Scotland's Scott Brown ©Getty Images

Scotland began their bid to qualify for a first major tournament since the 1998 FIFA World Cup with a goalless draw against Lithuania in UEFA EURO 2012 qualification Group I.

Meeting for the fourth EURO campaign in succession, the two teams largely cancelled each other out in a game in which clear-cut chances were few and far between. Saulius Mikoliunas and Stephen McManus produced their sides' best efforts in the first half and despite Scotland forcing the issue after the break the deadlocked remained unbroken.

Former Heart of Midlothian FC midfielder Mikoliunas forced Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor to beat away his stinging drive after 17 minutes, by which point the well-placed Kenny Miller had mis-kicked Steven Naismith's cut-back and had a deflected volley held by Žydrūnas Karčemarskas.

There was a pace and tenacity about the early proceedings which made for an interesting spectacle even if goalmouth action was proving thin on the ground. Barry Robson attempted to change that with a free-kick which extended Karčemarskas before Darren Fletcher's shot forced the Lithuania No1 into another save soon after.

The visitors' clearest opportunity arrived ten minutes before the break when McManus, up from the back, volleyed Fletcher's deep set-piece back across goal and narrowly wide of the far post. Encouraged by their positive finish to the first period, Scotland threatened again four minutes after the restart, the unmarked Miller this time heading Robson's cross straight at Karčemarskas.

Alan Hutton then crossed for Naismith, whose effort failed to trouble Karčemarskas as the visitors sensed a winner. Despite a spell of late pressure Scotland had to settle for a point ahead of their meeting with Liechtenstein on Tuesday, when Lithuania visit the Czech Republic.