Scotland labour to home draw with Canada

Steven Naismith rescued Scotland with a left-foot finish after poor play from Canada

Steven Naismith rescued Scotland with a left-foot finish after poor play from Canada

Steven Naismith scored the equaliser as Scotland laboured to a friendly draw with Canada at Easter Road.

Falkirk’s Fraser Aird produced a fine finish to send Canada ahead following poor defending from the hosts.

Untidy play at the other end allowed Naismith to level, the forward diverting Tom Cairney’s shot home.

Neither team created much after half-time but Canada, ranked 117 in the world, looked as likely to find a winner as the home side.

Scotland are currently second-bottom of Group F going into Sunday’s World Cup qualifying match against Slovenia at Hampden.

Fraser Aird scores<!–

Falkirk winger Aird capitalised on poor defending to put his side one up

Stewart Regan, the Scottish FA chief executive, and national boss Gordon Strachan have said Sunday’s fixture is a “must-win” for the nation’s qualifying hopes.

Scotland continue to struggle

With a crucial qualifier just a few days away the Scotland fans who turned out on a miserable night in the capital would have been expecting a performance against Canada that would give them hope heading into the Slovenia match on Sunday.

But on this performance there was little for the hardy few to cheer about.

The centre-back pairing of Christophe Berra and Charlie Mulgrew were opened up ever so simply time after time in the first half. Up front Chris Martin struggled to hold on to the ball with a first touch as heavy as the Easter Road surface.

Steven Naismith scores<!–

Naismith netted the leveller following poor defending from Canada

In former Scotland youth players Aird and Scott Arfield the visitors had the two best players on the pitch, with Toronto-born Falkirk winger Aird, whose parents are Scottish, scoring his first international goal.

He capitalised on some calamitous defending by Lee Wallace and had several chances to add to his tally.

Burnley’s Scottish-born midfielder Arfield, who has a Canadian father, went off injured late on to be replaced by Charlie Trafford.

A glimmer of hope

The Canada goal after 11 minutes stunned the crowd of 9,158 into silence. Not that they had much to cheer about, but there were a couple of encouraging displays for Strachan’s side.

With no natural right-backs in the squad, Derby County’s Ikechi Anya was again given the role after playing the position in November’s defeat by England. And the 29-year-old proved once again his versatility, going forward at every opportunity and attempting to link up with both Robert Snodgrass and debutant Tom Cairney.

And in Cairney, there was a player who at times showed a willingness to get forward and support his strikers. It was his shot that was turned in by Naismith for Scotland’s equaliser.

Scotland and Canada players<!–

Cairney was one of Scotland’s better performer against Canada

Apart from a cross from Snodgrass that hit the post, there was little else for the fans to cheer about.

Anya will likely continue at right-back on Sunday and although there were appearances in the second half for John McGinn, Leigh Griffiths and Jordan Rhodes, none looked to have done enough to force their way into the starting line-up, with Rhodes passing up a late chance.

Live Text

Match ends, Scotland 1, Canada 1.

Second Half ends, Scotland 1, Canada 1.

Substitution, Canada. Charlie Trafford replaces Scott Arfield because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Scott Arfield (Canada) because of an injury.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Nikolas Ledgerwood.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Rhodes (Scotland) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths.

Robert Snodgrass (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Junior Hoilett (Canada).

Offside, Scotland. Robert Snodgrass tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

Foul by Christophe Berra (Scotland).

Adam Straith (Canada) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Nikolas Ledgerwood.

Attempt blocked. Leigh Griffiths (Scotland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Jordan Rhodes (Scotland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Darren Fletcher with a through ball.

Attempt missed. Fraser Aird (Canada) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Nikolas Ledgerwood.

Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Barry Bannan.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Adam Straith.

Allan McGregor (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Straith (Canada).

Foul by Christophe Berra (Scotland).

Junior Hoilett (Canada) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Canada. Conceded by Allan McGregor.

Attempt saved. Fraser Aird (Canada) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Nikolas Ledgerwood.

Charlie Mulgrew (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Junior Hoilett (Canada).

Substitution, Scotland. John McGinn replaces Tom Cairney.

Substitution, Canada. Ben Fisk replaces Simeon Jackson.

Attempt missed. Barry Bannan (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Attempt missed. Junior Hoilett (Canada) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Scott Arfield.

Substitution, Canada. La’Vere Corbin-Ong replaces Maxim Tissot because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Leigh Griffiths (Scotland) because of an injury.

Delay in match Maxim Tissot (Canada) because of an injury.

Offside, Canada. Jayson Leutwiler tries a through ball, but Simeon Jackson is caught offside.

Substitution, Scotland. Leigh Griffiths replaces Chris Martin.

Substitution, Scotland. Jordan Rhodes replaces Steven Naismith.

Attempt missed. Barry Bannan (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Attempt saved. Barry Bannan (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Robert Snodgrass.

Attempt saved. Charlie Mulgrew (Scotland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

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