Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay produced an outstanding performance for Scotland as they inched closer to securing a spot in the 2024 European Championship tournament.
The 26-year-old put in a man-of-the-match performance for the Tartan Terriers, bagging a goal and an assist in an emphatic 3-0 victory over Cyprus in Group A.
Often deployed in a deeper midfield role at his club side, Steve Clarke utilised McTominay as one of two supporting forwards behind striker Che Adams in a 3-4-2-1 structure.
McTominay was allowed the freedom to charge forward at will, and he embraced it with aplomb, combining with John McGinn for the opening goal of the match.
Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson broke free down the left flank and lofted a searching cross for McGinn, who flicked his header towards the far post, where McTominay was perfectly positioned to head home Scotland’s opener.
The Man United academy graduate took his tally to six goals, tying club teammate Rasmus Hojlund and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku as the top goalscorers in the Euro qualifiers.
McTominay and McGinn combined again for Scotland’s third goal of the opening 45 minutes, with the Man United midfielder turning provider this time.
He stretched the Cyprus defence before cutting inside and finding the Aston Villa captain, who finished expertly by curling the ball past Joel Mall in the opposition goal.
Looking to double his tally, McTominay took advantage of a gap in Cyprus’ midfield, embarking on a mazy run towards the 18-yard area but narrowly missed the target with a shot from his weaker foot grazing the left post.
He came close to his second of the night again in the final quarter of the 90 minutes after hitting the post with a long-range effort.
McTominay dazzled with his all-round display, albeit against significantly weaker opponents. He will hope his standout performance for the national side catches the eye of club manager Erik ten Hag.
He has found himself lower in the pecking order, trailing behind Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat, leading to speculation over his long-term future at the club.
With Mount and Amrabat sidelined until further notice, McTominay will be eager to make a strong impression on Ten Hag when club football resumes, especially considering he only has seven minutes of Premier League action under his belt this season.