Wales produced a remarkable comeback in a Glasgow snow- storm to claim a World Cp double over Scotland in this World Cup group A qualifier.
Gareth Bale on the Attack.
The victory at Hampden Park was in fact, their fifth win in their last six matches against Scotland, and it pulled them up to third spot in the group.
Wales dominated the first period, but finished it behind after Grant Hanley had headed Scotland ahead in first-half injury time.
But Wales, who lost talisman Gareth Bale with an ankle injury at the break, fought back to claim goals from Aaron Ramsey--a penalty--and then Hal Robson-Kanu’s debut goal for his country.
Both teams finished with ten men, Scotland losing Robert Snodgrass to a second yellow card, while Ramsey was dismissed in injury-time.
Despite doubts about his fitness, Bale started this World Cup clash at snowbound Hampden , with Reading’s Robson-Kanu in the starting line-up.
Aaron Ramsey Scores
And Wales could hardly have had a better start to this match, stunning the Scots hordes with their control, passing and quick movement for long spells in the first-half.
It is hard to say whether Wales were in total control, or if Scotland were deliberately sitting back to soak up the pressure and try to hit the Welsh on the break.
But in that opening half hour, Wales maintained 78 per cent possession as Ramsey pulled the strings in midfield and Bale and Craig |Bellamy strove to find the gaps in the Scottish defence to exploit.
The hosts suffered a fourth minute set-back when Steven Fletcher was carried off after falling awkwardly, looking to have damaged his ankle. Kenny Miller took over up front.
Wales’ almost complete control of the opening phase produced roars of frustration from the home fans, and it looked only time before the visitors went ahead.
Scotland were showing their frustration, and Snodgrass was booked for a foul on Chris Gunter, having minutes earlier felled Joe Ledley.
But for all their control, Wales failed to create a serious opening and the fear was that if they did not score when they were so much on top, Scotland would get back into the game.
That began to be the situation when Miller headed over from a Snodgrass shot, and then repeated the effort from another cross from the Norwich man.
Bale had a shot palmed away by Allan McGregor before Robson-Kanu was booked for a foul. Blackburn‘s Hanley escaped without punishment for a fierce challenge from the back that left Bale in a heap , just minutes before Scotland took the lead.
Hal Robson Kanu Scores
And it was Hanley who was the man to break the deadlock, when he headed home a Charlie Mulgrew corner in the first minute of the opening half’s injury time. There was still time for Ramsey to be booked for a foul on Shaun Maloney, Scotland in the lead when it looked as if Wales were in total control.
The inevitable happened at the break when Bale could not continue after he had been left limping by Hanley’s challenge, and youngster Jonathan Williams came on after the break for his debut.
Scotland, predictably, came out all guns blazing after the break, and Snodgrass saw a curling long- ranger hit Boaz Myhill’s left-hand post. Then Wales lost Jack Collison, Andy King taking over after 57 minutes.
The Leicester man had the ball in the net two minutes later, only for it to be disallowed for an Ashley Williams foul on ‘keeper McGregor.
Hanley was booked for a foul on young Williams, who was having a splendid debut, carrying the ball and linking play well as Scotland back-pedalled.
Scotland were sailing close to the wind with some robust challenges which clearly upset the Wales lads, and that style eventually cost the hosts dear. Gunter was felled by a late tackle from Snodgrass just inside the box after the full-back had crossed.
Referee Antony Gautier showed Snodgrass his second yellow card, and the big winger was off, with Scotland down to ten men. Ramsey then made them pay by rapping home the resulting penalty after 70 minutes, off the underside of the bar.
Three minutes later Wales were ahead. Robson-Kanu rose in the box to head home a King cross for his first goal for his country.
Ledley was twice the victim of poor tackles as Scotland fought to contain a now confident Wales side, but it was only McGregor’s right boot that stopped King adding a third. Simon Church took over from the limping Ledley with two minutes left, but the drama was not over.
Wales tried to play out time in four minutes of injury time, but Ramsey was too casual in his own half and gifted the ball to James McArthur, pulling the Wigan man back as he broke clear. The French referee pulled out his second red card, and both teams were now down to ten men.
But Wales managed to hang on in those final few minutes for what in the end was a deserved victory in a match they had dominated for long spells.
By Paul Walker.
The Wales team was:
Wales: Myhill, Gunter, Ricketts, Ashley Williams, Davies, Collison, Ramsey, Ledley, Bale, Robson-Kanu, Bellamy. Subs: Price, Lynch, Richards, Collins, King, Vaughan, Church, Vokes, Jonathan Williams, Easter, Nyatanga, Fôn Williams.
The Wales squad flew up to Glagow this morning. The party included David Vaugan despite the Sunderland player being unavailable for tomorrow' s match against Scotland.
Gareth Bale travelled later . The Tottenham player has been recovering from a virus.
He took part in training with the rest of the squad this evening.
A familiar face joined up with the players at their hotel . Adam Mathews of Celtic will miss the match due to a hamstring problem but willl be at Hampden Park tomorrow night to support his country.
Wales trained at the Vale complex this morning.
Gareth Bale sat out this morning's session but is fit for the trip to Scotland.
The squad will depart for Glasgow tomorrow morning and will train at Hampden Park tomorrow evening, a session where the first 15 minutes will be open to the press and media.
David Vaughan (Sunderland) will not travel with the team to Scotland, but will rejoin the squad for the second match with Croatia on Tuesday in Swansea.
The Wales squad trained yesterday at the Vale training ground in Hensol. Sitting out were Gareth Bale, Jack Collison and James Collins who had all been involved with their clubs on Sunday.
It was time to face the media in the afternoon. Playing his football in Scotland with Celtic Joe Ledley was in huge demand. Crystal Palace youngster Jonathan Williams made his media debut and dealt confidentally with all the questions that came his way.
Sam Vokes was asked about the effect the presence of Gareth Bale has on the rest of the players while Owain Fon. Williams and Ben Davies were in front of the Welsh language press and media.
Liverpool's Joe Allen and Steve Morrison of Leeds United have pulled out of the Wales squad to face Scotland and Croatia in the World Cup qualifiers.
Allen has suffered a recurrence of his shoulder injury and Morrison has a calf strain.
Jermaine Easter, on loan at Millwall from Crystal Palace and Lewin Nyatanga from Bristol City have been called up to the squad.