Scott McTominay’s late double secured Scotland a comfortable winning start to their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign at home to Cyprus.

John McGinn’s close-range finish – the Aston Villa midfielder’s 16th goal for his country – was reward for a dominant first-half display.

Substitute McTominay eased increased nervousness around Hampden with a clinical 87th-minute finish.

And the Manchester United midfielder added his second moments later.

Steve Clarke had billed it as a must-win game against Group A’s lowest seeds, who ended the game with 10 men after a late red card for Nicholas Ioannou, and it was job done in that sense.

But the Scotland head coach will know that, despite their first winning start to a Euro qualifying campaign since 2006, improvement will be needed as top seeds Spain visit on Tuesday.

The dawn of new qualifying campaign brought the Tartan Army to Hampden full of optimism.

They were rewarded with a dominant first-half performance during which they were rarely under threat and probed at the Cypriot defensive wall with consistency and determination.

All that was lacking was a little more cutting edge in the vital area – directly in front of goal. That was a theme until late on, with the result still uncertain until McTominay stepped up.

Scotland’s intent was clear. Get at Cyprus down the flanks, particularly the left. That pattern was fairly consistent, but the first real threat came down the other side when Aaron Hickey danced into the box and, from the tightest of angles, forced goalkeeper Demetris Demetriou into a low save at his post.

Clarke’s side were cruising, comfortable on the ball and showing an impressive level of composure.

The left flank proved the route to the crucial opening goal as Stuart Armstrong fed Andy Robertson, who timed his run perfectly to stay marginally onside and cross first time. The ball deflected perfectly into McGinn’s path as he instinctively raced to meet it and finish from close range to take his Scotland tally to one more than the talismanic James McFadden.

Che Adams came close after super interplay with McGinn, but his shot was tipped over and the unfortunate striker left the field early in the second half with a worrying looking injury.

The second half show dipped significantly and the creeping doubt began to emerge that Cyprus might just nick something.

Finally, though, Scotland got there – thanks to three of their own substitutes. Ryan Christie did superbly to win possession and fire in a cross ,Lyndon Dykes nodded it on and McTominay raced onto it to half-volley home.

An enormous cheer and accompanying sigh of relief engulfed Hampden before McTominay capitalised again when Robertson laid the ball into his path and he calmly dispatched it home with ease.

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