_71218444_9065973

Scotland emerged from their final match of the year

Scotland emerged from their final match of the year with a narrow and somewhat ill-deserved victory over Norway.

Scott Brown scored the only goal of the evening after the Scots had survived several scares.

Gordon Strachan’s focus has always been on results though and this victory means his side are now undefeated in their last four games.

They now have four months before their next fixture, as they finish 2013 on a high.

Despite the positivity and good feeling that has built up around the Scotland team in recent months under Strachan, the overall performance here was as poor as anything produced by the national side this year.

But the record books will not reflect that. Instead they will show another away victory, to add to those earned in Croatia and Macedonia, which will mean a further rise in the Fifa rankings for the Scots.

The goal came against the flow of the game, which had largely been directed towards David Marshall’s goal.

Charlie Adam, one of several Scotland players performing below his best, tried to bundle his way into the Norwegian penalty area and though he found no way through, the ball broke to Brown whose first-time shot skipped off the sodden turf and past Orjan Nyland.

It was harsh on the hitherto dominant hosts, who were guilty of passing up a number of chances before and after Brown’s strike.

The best of those fell to Marcus Pedersen as Mohammed Abdellaoue picked him out 10 yards from goal.

But though his side-footed effort was on target, Marshall saved well with his legs.

The Scotland goalkeeper saved well again from Pedersen with just 12 minutes remaining, to preserve the clean sheet for a third consecutive game.

That had looked unlikely early on, as Scotland struggled to find their touch and retain possession.

But a combination of good fortune and poor finishing denied the Norwegians the breakthrough their play arguably deserved, summed up in the 90th minute by Anders Konradsen’s narrowly misdirected shot.

The Scotland manager resisted the temptation to put on numerous substitutes, but few of the fringe players did enough to suggest they will be starters when competitive matches return next September.