Scotland got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a flying start with a 5-1 victory in Malta – and a hat-trick from Robert Snodgrass.
Snodgrass opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a cross that drifted over backtracking Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg and in off the crossbar.
Snodgrass admitted he struck lucky with his first goal.
“I just wanted to get it into an area – to the back post – and lucky enough it went in,” Snodgrass said in an interview on Sky Sports 1.
“The boys were giving me some stick. I’m just delighted to get on the scoresheet.”
Super Scotland top of the World Cup qualifying group!!! Ahead of the english! #MALSCO
— Scott Simpson (@HardcoreMilkman) September 4, 2016
One down, nine to go. Gets harder from here but morale-boosting big win the ideal start for a wounded Scotland. #MALSCO
— Al Watt (@tbilisidon) September 4, 2016
Scotland’s night was far from straightforward despite the scoreline. Alfred Effiong equalised four minutes after Snodgrass’ opener and the score remained 1-1 at half-time.
Chris Martin fired Scotland back ahead after 53 minutes before an arguably fortuitous penalty award saw Jonathan Caruana sent off and Snodgrass convert from the spot.
Scotland then managed to take charge as Steven Fletcher grabbed a fourth before Snodgrass had a simple task of completing his hat-trick to put the icing on a night that ended with Luke Gambin kicking out at the Hull midfielder in injury-time to leave Malta down to nine men.
Snodgrass displaying how important a player he will prove to be during this campaign for Scotland. Man of the match performance ðð¼
— Lewis Anderson (@LewisAndo123) September 4, 2016
Snodgrass deserves this so much! Great guy, great player and brilliant to get a hatrick after such a long injury layoff #MALSCO #Scotland
— Yayymes (@Yayymes) September 4, 2016
Snodgrass rarely gets the credit he deserves. Amazing player!
So proud of Scotland todayð
— Jay Carrington (@PookiepopBlog) September 4, 2016
Robert Snodgrass you are THE manððð
— Jason Cunninghamð« (@Bealeo97) September 4, 2016
Midfielder Matt Ritchie, who set up Martin’s goal with a fine cross, praised Snodgrass’ display by adding: “He was fantastic tonight and it’s players like him you need on your team to win games like that. It was a good performance.
“We have to keep our feet on the floor – it’s one game, but it is a positive night and hopefully we can build on it.”