Stoke midfielder Fletcher quickly focuses on Scotland's next match


SCOTLAND came within three minutes of elimination against Slovakia at Hampden Park but now know a win in Slovenia will guarantee them second place in Group F.

Gordon Strachan's men put on yet another late show to grab a crucial 1-0 win over Slovakia on Thursday night.

"We also know we are a good team and we go right to the end".

Strachan's substitutes Martin and Anya had a decisive impact but the Scotland manager was happy to hand over credit for his side's vital win to divine intervention.

The result was extremely disappointing for Slovakia, who easily defeated Scotland at home earlier in the qualifying campaign. That was some performance.

Slovakia were reduced to 10 men on Thursday midway through the first half but defended resolutely to keep Scotland at bay. But we managed to adapt and we created plenty of chances.

The Scots played with more urgency as the half went on and on 68 minutes sub Chris Martin smacked the crossbar from 25 yards with a powerful strike - Dubravka was well beaten. "He was magnificent. And the crossbar was good as well".

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Azerbaijan, who have won only three of their nine games and lie fifth in the group, are not expected to cause them any problems. We want to learn from the game and don't want to waste that opportunity'. "At the moment they just need the chance to grow".

And speaking to the Scottish Sun, the Stoke player reflected on the elbow he took to the head from the Slovakian star: "In football now you can't have blood on the pitch". It says a lot about our fitness as well. "We had all these great performances and the footballing gods have made a decision to give us a victory".

Slovakia came to Glasgow knowing a draw or victory would leave them in pole position to secure second spot in World Cup qualifying Group F and a probable play-off spot.

"I've not thought about it", he added. "I think you saw that belief and that character to keep going". "That is what we have looked at it - forget about the Slovenia game until this is over".

The Scots kept their hopes of qualifying for next summer's showpiece event in Russian Federation alive with a last gasp win over Slovakia on Thursday and the Reds left-back is not willing to sit out of the game despite injuring his wrist.

"That was the way you want to win a game", the Derby County striker told Sky Sports.

"Luckily we got the goal in the end which we really deserved".

"I'm not getting any younger".