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McManus saves Scottish blushes at the last

Scotland 2-1 Liechtenstein
Mario Frick's stylish goal looked to have earned the visitors a point until Stephen McManus' late winner.

Stephen McManus celebrates scoring his late winner
Stephen McManus celebrates scoring his late winner ©Getty Images

Stephen McManus scored seven minutes into added time as Scotland came from behind to earn a dramatic 2-1 victory against Group I outsiders Liechtenstein.

For 16 minutes at Hampden Park, Mario Frick's opener just after half-time had looked set to earn Liechtenstein a first away win since a 4-0 triumph over Luxembourg in October 2004. Kenny Miller ended any such thoughts and McManus dashed their chances of even a memorable point with his last-gasp header for Craig Levein's side.

Hans-Peter Zaugg's pre-match assertion that his side would need to survive early Scottish pressure proved an astute one. Indeed, they had clearly heeded his words of caution because Scotland, despite their possession and positive intentions, cut frustrated first-half figures. Misdirected headers from Lee McCulloch and Kris Boyd aside, Peter Jehle's goal was rarely threatened.

Untested and, as such, unfazed, Liechtenstein grew in stature and even warmed the palms of Allan McGregor through Sandro Wieser's low shot just before half-time. Scotland had been warned but were still caught cold only a minute after the break. Though David Hasler supplied the cultured cross, it was Frick's one-touch control, stylish spin into space and delightfully shaped shot which left McGregor scrambling to no avail.

Captain Darren Fletcher, winning his 50th cap, was the first to attempt to drag his side back into contention with a stinging first-time shot parried behind by Jehle. The experienced FC Vaduz goalkeeper was helpless four minutes later, though, as Miller pounced on Michael Stocklasa's partial clearance and unleashed a shot of real venom which flew into the roof of the net. Any subsequent impetus was short-lived despite the best efforts of a restless home crowd but they could finally breathe a sigh of relief when McManus headed Barry Robson's corner past Jehle to send Scotland top of the section.