Scotland 5 - 0 Albania: Scots go top of World Cup group

Scotland's Jane Ross celebrates after making it 3-0. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
Scotland's Jane Ross celebrates after making it 3-0. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
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Scotland went to the top of Group 2 after winning their second World Cup qualifier in five days at St Mirren Park. They lead top seeds Switzerland on goal difference.

It was an excellent effort in atrocious conditions by Shelley Kerr’s side, who maintained a high tempo throughout and never gave a stuffy Albanian side any respite.

There was a pre-match presentation to central defender Jen Beattie to mark her passing the 100-cap mark, after which the home side made a really bright start in the driving rain, with most of the attacks being channelled through Claire Emslie on the right. She tested Marigona Zani with a low shot, and then Jane Ross directed a header just wide from a corner.

The Albanian keeper then palmed away a 20-yard Caroline Weir shot but, having survived the early pressure, the visitors looked more comfortable until the second wave of pressure around the 20-minute mark brought the opening goal.

Zani just managed to tip a deflected shot to safety from under her bar, but from the Emslie’s corner on the left the goalkeeper turned the ball into her own net at the near post.

It got better for Scotland just after the half hour. Right back Chloe Arthur rattled the bar with a fierce shot, and Fiona Brown slammed the rebound home from just inside the box.

A two-goal deficit at half-time was about as good as it could get for Albania, and they lost a further two early in the second half.

Zani, who otherwise had been having a decent game, was again at fault when she couldn’t hold Beattie’s long range shot. The ball fell to Ross, whose 53rd international goal was also one of her easiest.

The fourth quickly followed and was the pick of the bunch. Emslie, who scored a similar goal in last month’s friendly against Hungary, smashed a curling angled shot from 25 yards into the far corner.

If anything the second half was even more one-sided than the first, with Scotland keeper Lee Alexander watching the game as a spectator in her own half. To their credit, Albania refused to crumble and kept the chances to a minimum despite all Scotland’s attacking play.

The well deserved fifth goal arrived with eight minutes to go. Substitute Lisa Evans had come very close to scoring seconds earlier, after being set up by Fiona Brown, but she made no mistake the second time, converting the outstanding Emslie’s cross.