(Reuters) - Slovakia revived their hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup as two goals by livewire forward Robert Mak helped them thump Scotland 3-0 in a lively Group F qualifier in Trnava on Tuesday.
The win gave Slovakia their first points of the campaign but was the second setback in three days for the Scots after they scraped a 1-1 home draw with Lithuania on Saturday.
England lead the group with seven points ahead of Lithuania and Slovenia on five, Scotland with four and Slovakia on three.
Slovakia, who suffered 1-0 defeats by England and Slovenia in their opening two games, came out with renewed purpose and had Scotland on the back foot throughout the match.
Mak, who gave the visiting defence a roasting, put the hosts ahead in the 18th minute by blasting home a rebound after keeper David Marshall parried a Marek Hamsik header into his path.
Left back Jakub Holubek, who delivered a deep cross for the opening goal, was again the provider as Mak doubled Slovakia’s lead with a lovely piece of skill in the 56th.
The 25-year-old Mak took a low square ball into his stride and sent centre back Russell Martin tumbling before beating Marshall with a calm finish.
Scottish fans playing bagpipes on the terraces could not rouse the visitors to get back into the game, with Marshall producing two superb saves to deny Mak and Jan Durica.
But the goalkeeper was helpless when Adam Nemec stole in between two defenders and headed home an inswinging corner in the 68th minute to complete the rout.
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Xxxxx