REGARDLESS of whether it was an opportunity lost or a job efficiently carried out, the outcome was the same for Scotland in Skopje. They needed a three-goal margin to knock Iceland off top spot in their Euro 2017 qualifying group and they got it.
Having scored all their goals in the first half and utterly dominated their Macedonian hosts, there was inevitably some disappointment that the margin of victory hadn’t been much greater for Anna Signeul’s side.
The hosts were, in fairness, better in the second half after pulling a goal back just before half-time in defiance of everything else that happened in the match.
Scotland midfielder Rachel Corsie, who scored the second and third goals, said: “It’s a difficult place to come to.
“They had so many players behind the ball and that made it difficult to get through them. Once we knew that the game was sealed, the three points was the most important thing. It’s going to be tight with Iceland all the way through the group I expect.”
Although incessant pressure in the opening 20 minutes failed to bring a goal, Scotland got a spate of them once Kim Little broke the deadlock.
The Melbourne City-bound forward scored a hat-trick in Slovenia last month and she made it four in a row after being put in by Jane Ross.
The classy No 10 then crossed for her Seattle Reign team-mate Corsie to double the lead four minutes later. The same player quickly added the third, this time with a shot from outside the box.
Caroline Weir made it four goals in nine minutes with another shot, this time a low one from just inside the penalty area. Yet almost unbelievably the home side, who had barely been in the Scotland half, pulled one back just before the interval.
It came courtesy of their one really good player – captain Natasa Andonova who plays for Swedish Champions League side Rosengard. The attacking midfielder sent a brilliant low through ball for Gentjana Rocha to run on to and slip the ball past Gemma Fay.
There was far less to trouble Fay’s opposite number, Viktorija Doneva, in the second half, but the Scots were adamant it should have been five when she dropped the ball, apparently over the goalline, following a Scotland corner. “I was pretty close to it and it looked to me like the whole ball was over the line,” Corsie said.
SCORERS: Macedonia - Rochi (44’); Scotland - Little (22’), Corsie (26’, 28’), Weir (31’)