🏆 FIH World Cup Qualifiers : Scotland men's team outbid Russia to finish fifth
Photo Credit : Scotland Hockey

There will undoubtedly be disappointment in the Scotland ranks that neither the women nor the men managed to qualify for their respective World Cups, but there are positives in the air.

Firstly, both Scotland squads remained unbeaten in normal time – only the lottery of the running shoot-out scenario proved their undoing.

And secondly, both sides finished according to their ranking, the women in third spot and the men in fifth – so nothing lost there.

Finally, both squads did remarkably well considering the problems faced with COVID restrictions, many of their players playing outside Scotland, and the lack of competitive build-up matches.

Scotland`s men also did all the running in the early action in their encounter with Russia: Cameron Golden, Hamish Imrie and Andy Bull at a penalty corner all had chances to open the scoring. At the other end Tommy Alexander was called into action on two or three occasions.

Six minutes from half time the Scots converted their pressure into a goal. Lee Morton did all the running; he passed the ball on to Golden whose reverse stick slap flew into the roof of the net.

The Scots were not so good in the third quarter but certainly came to life in a goal-strewn final 15 minutes. It started with another Golden goal after good build-up play by Michael Bremner to double Scotland`s tally. Seconds later Laroslav Loginov pulled one back for Russia at a penalty corner.

Scotland`s two goal margin was restored with a spot conversion by Lee Morton after an illegal stop on the line by a Russian defender – Morton sent the keeper the wrong way.

Before the Russians could catch breath, Ed Greaves added a fourth at a second phase penalty corner scenario. Nikolay Yankun scored Russia`s second in the closing minutes, but it was little more than a consolation.

Coach Derek Forsyth said: “We started well and could well have been two or three goals up, but then the Russians came back into the game. The third quarter was scrappy, and we had to juggle about with our formation following an injury to Andy Bull. We came back to life in the final quarter, scored three goals and saw out the rest of the game. Overall, the lack of warm-up games undoubtedly put us on the back foot for the tournament.”

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