Football: Scotland's World Cup hopes still alive after late winner against Slovenia

Scotland's striker Chris Martin (second from right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the only goal of the World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Scotland and Slovenia on March 26, 2017.
Scotland's striker Chris Martin (second from right) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the only goal of the World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Scotland and Slovenia on March 26, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

GLASGOW (REUTERS) - Chris Martin came off the substitutes' bench to keep alive Scotland's World Cup dreams with a dramatic 88th-minute winner in a 1-0 win that ended Slovenia's unbeaten run in European qualifying group F on Sunday (March 26).

The victory breathed new life into the Scots' dismal campaign, putting them on to seven points in fourth place, now just one behind Slovenia, who slipped back to third in the table behind Slovakia, nine, and runaway leaders England on 13.

A half-empty Hampden Park had looked resigned to seeing Scotland fail to prevail in what manager Gordon Strachan had described as a "must-win" match.

The Scots were left cursing their bad luck after a first half during which Leigh Griffiths struck the woodwork twice in the space of a minute and Russell Martin had a headed goal ruled out for pushing.

Their chance of the crucial win looked lost when substitute Ikechi Anya missed a great chance but Martin, brought on in the 81st minute, latched on to Stuart Armstrong's threaded through ball to strike home.