Scotland completed a six game winning sequence in the build-up for the European Nations Championships 11 next month with a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic in a friendly international in Prague on Saturday.
The result demonstrated that the Scots, under coach Derek Forsyth, are punching above their weight. The Czechs at 21st are two places above the Scots in the world rankings and they are due to compete in Europe’s top flight this summer.
Scotland’s cutting edge was provided by the former Glynhill Kelburne striker Kenny Bain, now playing with Dutch side THC Hurley.
Bain notched a hat-trick in the 4-3 win in the first game, and then proceeded to open the scoring 13 minutes into the second encounter. Grove Menzieshill’s Gavin Byers created the opening for him and the in-form Bain finished off the move with a fierce reverse stick shot that flew past the Czech goalkeeper.
The Scots should have been further ahead by the interval, but Bain struck the post, Paul Martin was closed down by the goalkeeper and a Gary Cameron shot just missed the target.
The home side stole their way back into the contest with an untidy goal after goalkeeper Gavin Sommerville saved the initial shot and the defence failed to clear their lines.
That setback lasted only five minutes, and Scotland answered in style.
At a penalty corner Bain switched the ball back to Chris Grassick and the Surbiton player flicked the ball past the goalkeeper.
Further chances fell to Bain and Russell Anderson, but their efforts were cleared by the Czech defence.
It would have been a chance for Scotland to ensure the victory was safe, but instead there was a late scare at the other end when the Czechs had the chance to level the score with two late penalty corners. However, both shots were courageously charged down by Gavin Byers.
“It was a superb weekend with two wins over a side ranked above us, but we still need to learn to kill games off in order to ensure winning outcomes,” said a satisfied Eugene Connolly, Scotland’s manager.
Connolly added: “Worthy of mention was the performance of newcomers Michael Ross, Paul Martin and Gary Cameron – they have about six caps between them, but adapted their game well to the higher level.”