Stephen McManus scored seven minutes into injury time to prevent Scotland suffering the most embarrassing defeat in their history as they scrambled to a 2-1 triumph at home to Liechtenstein.
Scotland are no strangers to shock results against some of the world’s minnows having twice drawn away to the Faroe Islands in the past, but a failure to beat Liechtenstein, ranked at 141 in the world, would have eclipsed these feats.
But after a goalless draw away in Lithuania in their opening Group I encounter, they fell behind against Liechtenstein when Mario Frick stylishly opened the scoring with a curling effort.
Kenny Miller restored parity with a shot that crossed the line via the underside of the bar, before McManus headed in Barry Robson’s corner in stoppage time.
Not only did the goal spare the blushes of manager Craig Levein, the win takes them to the top of their group, which also includes Spain and the Czech Republic.
The Republic of Ireland were another to struggle to keep a clean sheet at home to one of the world’s minnows, but had far less trouble following up on their narrow victory in Armenia with a 3-1 win over Andorra.
Kevin Kilbane and Kevin Doyle had the Irish in the driving seat early on, but Christian Martinez gave them a reason to be nervous on the brink of half-time.
Robbie Keane’s 44th international goal gave Giovanni Trapattoni’s team some added breathing space after the interval and they remain 80/1 to win Euro 2012, although they still have to qualify from a group also containing Russia, Slovakia and Macedonia.
Should Scotland qualify for Euro 2012 they are 200/1 to win the tournament. See the entire Euro 2012 winners market.