SCOTLAND welcome an old foe in the Faroe Islands to Hampden Park on Wednesday night in the final part of the World Cup Qualifying Group F triple-header. Although the two have never met in World Cup qualification, they were a regular head-to-head in the European Championship qualifiers for four consecutive campaigns from Euro ’96 to Euro 2008. The Scots will be looking to make it five out of five in competitive matches on home soil, and here’s how the previous four meetings have faired.
12/10/94 Euro ’96 Qualifying
Scotland 5 Faroe Islands 1
Having got our Euro ’96 campaign off to a winning start in Finland the previous month, confidence was high going into the first ever meeting with the Faroes. Craig Brown picked an attack minded team and the goals flowed in a dominant performance. John McGinlay headed home the opener from a Paul McStay cross before Scott Booth glanced home a second, and a half volley from John Collins gave the Scots a commanding half time lead.
A rasping 25 yarder from Billy McKinlay made it four early into the second half, which was shortly followed by a fifth when neat footwork by Collins took him into the area to have a shot that the Faroes keeper could only palm on its way into the net. The visitors got a consolation when Muller ran through to lift the ball over the advancing Andy Goram.
14/10/98 Euro 2000 Qualifying
Scotland 2 Faroe Islands 1
Scotland had begun their campaign with an uninspiring goalless draw in Lithuania and a nervy 3-2 win against Estonia at Tynecastle before the visit of the Faroes. The pre-match build up was dominated by Jim Leighton’s shock retirement from International Football after the Estonian match, meaning Neil Sullivan was now given the number one jersey.
With Hampden going through the final phase of redevelopment, Pittodrie was the venue for this match that Scotland knew only a win would be acceptable. Craig Burley put the Scots in front after a fine build up, although the Faroes pointed out that there was another ball on the pitch so play should’ve been stopped. The lead was doubled just before half time when a deflected cross from Allan Johnston was headed home from close range by Billy Dodds. However, it was a laboured second half performance from the hosts and Colin Hendry conceded a late penalty, which John Petersen converted, to make it a nervy last six minutes. Fortunately, Scotland held on for a 2-1 win.
6/9/03 Euro 2004 Qualifying
Scotland 3 Faroe Islands 1
When people think of the Berti Vogts era, not many point out to the home qualifier against the Faroes that came a year after the scare in Toftir, where a second half comeback spared our blushes with a 2-2 draw. On this sunny September afternoon at the National Stadium, Scotland started brightly when Neil McCann volleyed in a Paul Devlin cross to open the scoring. The Faroes then stunned the home crowd with an equaliser from Julian Johnsson midway through the first half with a bullet header from a corner, aided by poor goalkeeping by Rab Douglas.
Shortly before half time, Paul Dickov restored the Scots lead as his volley into the ground looped over Jakup Mickellsen and into the net. The game was put beyond doubt with just over a quarter of an hour left when McCann’s low cross was turned home from close range by James McFadden to net his first goal for his country. We didn’t hear much from him after that did we?
2/9/06 Euro 2008 Qualifying
Scotland 6 Faroe Islands 0
THE opening game of our most memorable, albeit unsuccessful, qualifying campaign in the 23 years hiatus from major tournaments. Due to Hampden being used for the Robbie Williams concert (cue the “he’s fat, he’s round, he stole our f***ing ground chants), the game was relocated to Celtic Park – and it was a good move too! Scotland raced into a two goal lead inside the first ten minutes when Darren Fletcher turned in a Kenny Miller cross, then McFadden curled home from the edge of the box to double the advantage.
Two penalties followed, converted with a huge slice of luck by Kris Boyd and Miller to make it four-nil. It was five on 37 minutes when Boyd latched onto a Fletcher through ball to score his second, after Mikellsen had saved the initial effort. With a trip to Lithuania on the horizon, Scotland took their foot off the gas in the second half and didn’t score again until five minutes from time when Gary O’Connor’s shot squirmed through Mikkelsen’s arms to round off the scoring.