Fraser Hornby’s hat-trick helped Scotland Under-21s gain revenge on Andorra as their 3-0 win at Tynecastle kept alive faint hopes of reaching next year’s European Championships.
The Everton striker tucked home a late first-half penalty before adding two more after the break as Scot Gemmill’s side moved to within a point of second-placed Holland in Group 4.
But with only four of the nine section runners-up guaranteed a play-off spot, the Scots will likely require maximum points from their three final clashes against the Netherlands, group leaders England and Ukraine if they are to stand any chance of reaching the finals in Italy and San Marino.
As things stand, the 1-1 draw that Gemmill’s side posted back in March on their last encounter with Andorra looks destined to haunt them.
They required a last-minute Lewis Morgan equaliser to dodge an even more humiliating result in Andorra as the minnows refused to buckle.
And they proved stubborn opponents once again in Gorgie last night.
Hornby should have fired Scotland ahead in the 22nd minute but was denied by Andorra goalkeeper Iker’s crucial block. But a tug by Alex Martinez on Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous a minute before the break did lead to the breakthrough as referee Dejan Jakimovksi awarded the spot-kick which Hornby converted.
Hornby then started the move which led to the second after 66 minutes, sweeping the ball inside to Stevie Mallan before darting into the box to nod home from Billy Gilmour’s cross.
He claimed the match ball with seven minutes remaining when Chris Cadden charged down the right before picking out Hornby to finish off on the stretch.