Levein gamble backfires as Hubnik header rocks Scots
Czech Republic 1 Scotland 0
Published 09/10/2010 | 05:00
Craig Levein's decision to drop Kenny Miller and play a defensive line-up failed to pay off as Scotland suffered the first defeat of their campaign in Prague last night.
The Scots held out for 69 minutes before Roman Hubnik grabbed the only goal of the game to hand the Czechs their first victory in the section, and Levein's men must now pick themselves up ahead of the visit of Spain next week.
The build-up to the match had been dominated by headlines about Levein's decision to axe Miller -- news that was leaked days before the team was named.
The Rangers striker has been in fine form this season but had to settle for a place on the bench instead, along with Phil Bardsley who was called into the squad after switching allegiance to the Scots.
The Czechs had a chance to apply some early pressure when David Weir fouled Tomas Necid 25-yards out but Lukas Magera's free kick failed to get past the wall, as around 8,000 Scotland fans breathed a sigh of relief.
The home nation were still looking dangerous and Tomas Rosicky saw his angled drive fall inches over the crossbar, before Jan Polak tested McGregor with a powerful effort.
It was proving to be a busy night for McGregor as he again ensured the scoreline remained level with a wonderful save to push a Polak header past his right-hand upright.
However, McGregor was helpless to prevent the home side taking the lead after 69 minutes. A Rosicky corner was nodded on by Roman Bednar for Hubnik to bullet a header home and seal the points.