Unlikely and sensational late goals from Lyndon Dykes and Kenny McLean maintained Scotland’s perfect start to Euro 2024 qualifying as Steve Clarke’s side stunned Norway in Oslo.
Erling Haaland’s 53rd goal of the season from the penalty spot just after the hour mark looked to have given the more lively Norwegians a victory which would have revived their Group A hopes.
But out of nothing Dykes pounced on a mistake with three minutes of normal time remaining to snatch what seemed like a brilliant point for Scotland.
Barely two minutes later substitute McLean swept the ball home to send the travelling Tartan Army into ecstasy and secure a scarcely believable three points.
Victory kept Scotland top of Group A on a maximum nine points, six clear of Spain, who have a game in hand, and eight in front of a devastated Norway.
Scotland will face Georgia on Tuesday at Hampden, where a win would take them to within touching distance of a place at back-to-back European Championships.
That did not seem likely with mere minutes to go in a baking hot Ullevaal Stadion as Norway seemed comfortable.
Manchester City’s record-breaking striker was practically a spectator for the first hour, but was lurking in the box waiting for a cross when Ryan Porteous blithely stuck out a leg, resulting in the penalty.
Haaland drilled the ball past a diving Angus Gunn to give Norway a deserved lead. At that point Scotland had only had two shots, their lowest total since 2016, before inspiring a crazy turnaround, helped by suspect Norway defending.
Leo Ostigard could only clear John McGinn’s pass into Dykes’ path, and he stayed composed to prod in.
Just as heart rates in the Scotland end had returned to normal, Dykes knocked a cross into McLean’s path and he beautifully stroked in a priceless winner.
Player of the match – Andy Robertson
Belief and togetherness get Scotland over the line
If the wins over Cyprus and Spain at Hampden were confident and dominant, this was all about guts, spirit and adaptability.
The belief and togetherness this team has built over the past few years is quite something, to the point where turnarounds like this are now possible, and even expected.
Dykes, despite sometimes looking lost up front, continues to produce big moments in a Scotland shirt, and is the symbol of a team giving every inch of itself.
Clarke has to take credit for his substitutions, and he took advantage of Norway replacing Haaland and others late on to turn the game.
McLean came on and midfielder McGinn – pushed further forward – played a crucial role in both goals.
This group was one of the toughest Scotland could have got as second seeds, but so far they have made light work of it, to the point where winning it is possible.
What they said
Scotland head coach Steve Clarke: “Sometimes, when it’s your moment you just have to ride the wave. The boys believe in themselves and kept going.
“Obviously, we were disappointed to lose the goal, but the reaction to that was good. I was reasonably pleased with what they did before that.
“The lads have dug themselves out of a tight corner and we stay top of the group, which is nice.”
Norway midfielder Martin Odegaard: “It’s hard to sum up. We had the lead with a few minutes to go, what happened after that shouldn’t happen.
“It’s a tough one to take. It’s going to be very difficult now [to qualify], we have to be honest. We have to stick together and take it from there.
“I didn’t think Scotland played a great game to be honest. But they have a great spirit and fight to the end, credit to them.”
- 6BergSubstituted forStrand Larsenat 84′minutes
- 16AursnesSubstituted forThorstvedtat 84′minutes
- 19SørlothSubstituted forElyounoussiat 79′minutes
- 9HaalandSubstituted forDæhliat 84′minutes
- 17SolbakkenSubstituted forBergeat 63′minutes
- 23Strand Larsen
- 15PorteousBooked at 60minsSubstituted forMcLeanat 79′minutes
- 13HendryBooked at 40mins
- 6TierneyBooked at 53minsSubstituted forCooperat 65′minutes
- 8McGregorSubstituted forGilmourat 78′minutes
- 11ChristieSubstituted forS Armstrongat 78′minutes
- 7McGinnBooked at 37minsSubstituted forHyamat 90+1′minutes
- 17S Armstrong
Match ends, Norway 1, Scotland 2.
Second Half ends, Norway 1, Scotland 2.
Foul by Mohamed Elyounoussi (Norway).
Kenny McLean (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jørgen Strand Larsen (Norway) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Dominic Hyam (Scotland).
Jørgen Strand Larsen (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Liam Cooper (Scotland).
Foul by Kristian Thorstvedt (Norway).
Liam Cooper (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Scotland. Dominic Hyam replaces John McGinn.
Goal! Norway 1, Scotland 2. Kenny McLean (Scotland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lyndon Dykes.
Goal! Norway 1, Scotland 1. Lyndon Dykes (Scotland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.
Foul by Martin Ødegaard (Norway).
John McGinn (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Martin Ødegaard (Norway) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Birger Meling.
Substitution, Norway. Kristian Thorstvedt replaces Fredrik Aursnes.
Substitution, Norway. Mats Dæhli replaces Erling Haaland.
Substitution, Norway. Jørgen Strand Larsen replaces Patrick Berg.
Leo Østigård (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.