Scotland midfielder John McGinn credited Liam Cooper’s vocal encouragement and some respite from the sun as sparks for their unlikely Oslo comeback along with their “phenomenal” substitutes.
McGinn admitted Scotland had barely posed a threat before goals in the final four minutes from Lyndon Dykes and substitute Kenny McLean earned a 2-1 victory over Norway.
Cooper had come on for the fatigued Kieran Tierney not long after Erling Haaland had put the hosts ahead with a 61st minute penalty and McGinn was inspired by the defender’s rallying cries.
The Euro 2024 qualifier had begun in heat of about 30 degrees and Scotland were struggling to get back in the match but the arrival of McLean, Stuart Armstrong and Billy Gilmour and a change of tactics helped turn the game.
McGinn was pushed further forward and had a hand in both goals but he was quick to praise Cooper.
“Coops is a leader, he has been captain of Leeds for a long time now,” the Aston Villa skipper said.
“He came on and he was screaming ‘just one chance, we only need one chance’. And that just filtered through.
“Don’t get me wrong, it was roasting, but the shade started coming in towards that end and I don’t know if it suited us but we got a wee bit of energy from somewhere.
“And a mistake at the back from them and Dykesy is alert and capitalised and from there the momentum is with us.
“From nowhere really. They will be feeling a little bit hard done by, they were the better team during the game. But I thought our subs were phenomenal.
“We played all right, we were in a good shape, we weren’t letting them create many chances but we weren’t doing anything in the game.
“Credit to every single sub, they were frightening. The manager said before the game, it’s always hard picking a starting 11 because of the strength and depth we have, which we didn’t have before.
“I am just delighted for Kenny. He is so under-rated, he is a top, top player, and it was never in doubt when Dykesy laid it off that he was going to score.”
McGinn was also given some impetus when he sneaked a view of the live Group A table when Norway scored.
The former St Mirren and Hibernian player was determined not to let March’s win over Spain be cancelled out and the quickfire goals opened up an eight-point gap over Scotland’s opponents.
Looking ahead to Tuesday’s Hampden clash with Georgia, McGinn said: “It could be significant but that’s the word – could. We need to back it up.
“When the group comes up on the big screen, I know I’m not supposed to be watching it, but when Norway went 1-0 up you look at it and it’s wide open again. So then the Spain game goes to waste.
“It’s important for us after the start we have made to make sure it didn’t go to waste.
“All the boys deserve immense credit but again it means nothing without a big performance on Tuesday night.
“We need to be consistent, we need to perform well, and as much as it’s strange for us, we need to try and start getting used to it.”