James McArthur came off the bench to save Gordon Strachan’s Scotland from an embarrassing defeat at home to Lithuania at Hampden Park last night.
The last few months have seen numerous questions raised over Strachan’s tactical choices in the Scotland dugout, with bafflement once again reigning yesterday night at the sight of Barry Bannan and Chris Martin being given the nod in the Tartan Army’s starting XI ahead of the aforementioned McArthur and Leigh Griffiths.
Indeed, confusion turned to unfiltered anger when the hosts fell behind to a 59th minute goal from Cernych which albeit momentarily saw the Scots drop below their opponents in Group F.
Having started teenage wonderkid and recent Bundesliga mover and shaker Oliver Burke, Strachan replaced him with James Forrest midway through the second period before removing Matt Ritchie and throwing Griffiths into the fray on 71 minutes in a move which saw the Scots gain a far greater level of attacking intent.
Whilst the night had looked to be lurching towards disaster, it was McArthur who partially saved his boss’ blushes in the 89th minute, converting a close-range header before wheeling away in jubilant celebration.
Having already bagged two goals in red and blue this season, last night’s effort was Jimmy’s third goal in four games at international level, adding further weight to the voices of those who feel he should be an automatic starter in each and every one of Strachan’s teams.
Let’s hope this current rich run of scoring form is a sign of things to come for the Scotsman over the next few months and not simply a purple patch.