Football: Let's Go for the Win; LITHUANIA V SCOTLAND, KAUNAS, TOMORROW 5.30 GORDON: WE WANT ANOTHER 3 POINTS FROM THIS GAME .. AT ANY COST

The Mirror (London, England), September 5, 2006 | Go to article overview

Football: Let's Go for the Win; LITHUANIA V SCOTLAND, KAUNAS, TOMORROW 5.30 GORDON: WE WANT ANOTHER 3 POINTS FROM THIS GAME .. AT ANY COST


Byline: Michael BAILLIE

THE old adage that "cheats never win" was proved wrong the last time Scotland faced Lithuania in a Euro qualifier in Kaunas when they were undone by a controversial penalty.

But Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon insists that, rather than be undone by footballing con artists, Scotland have to learn from them and copy their sneaky methods if they are to make progress in the international arena.

Three years ago Lithuania triumphed 1-0 in a Euro 2004 qualifier after woeful whistler Fritz Stuchlik awarded a spot-kick with 15 minutes remaining after Jackie McNamara was judged to have fouled substitute Darius Maciulevicius.

The Austrian official told the then Celtic star he gave the penalty, slotted home by Tomas Razanauskas, because he heard a noise as Maciulevicius tumbled in the box with McNamara the nearest player to him.

While many may not like underhand tactics, Gordon takes the view that they are now part of modern day football and, rather than take the moral high ground, Scottish players should follow suit if it helps secure another win.

Gordon said: "That's part of the game these days when you're playing international football. If a player can gain an advantage then he'll do that.

"Sometimes they go for you, sometimes against you, but that's up to the referee.

"It's something no one likes to see but it definitely happens and you have to deal with it.

"But I'm sure there would be a few Scottish guys who will go down easily to win a free-kick or penalty as well.

"It's not just a foreign thing anymore. You see it week in, week out in every division and every league in the world.

"If there is going to be a crackdown then I don't know how you'll cut it out because if someone can try to get an edge for his team then he'll do it.

"It's clever play and it's winning football matches, that's what it's all about. It doesn't matter how you go about doing that.

"If you can win 1-0 with a penalty you didn't deserve, you're going to do that. It's three points and to get that any way possible."

Gordon certainly has the inside track on Lithuania given the influx of players at Tynecastle from the Baltic state after Vladimir Romanov gained control at the club.

And the Scots' No.1 is hoping the often outspoken Romanov returns to the capital with "his tail between his legs" after a Scotland victory.

He said: "I've no idea if he'll be there, I've not spoken to him. "But if he is then I hope he comes back to Edinburgh with his tail between his legs as I'm sure he'll be wanting Lithuania to beat us. …

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