COLIN Stein has congratulated Lyndon Dykes on becoming the first player to score in four consecutive Scotland games since he achieved the remarkable feat way back in 1969 – and backed the national team to secure a Qatar 2022 play-off place without their on-form striker.

Australian-born Dykes netted in the 86th minute of the Group F match against the Faroe Islands in Torshavn on Tuesday night to secure a narrow and nerve-wracking 1-0 victory for his adopted homeland.

  The 26-year-old, who qualifies to play for this country through parents who hail from Dumfries, had previously been on target in the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Austria last month and Israel on Saturday.

Rangers great Stein, who scored against Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Cyprus 52 years ago, watched the match on television and was delighted to see the Queens Park Rangers man emulate his accomplishment.

“It isn’t easy to score in four consecutive games for Scotland,” he said. “These sort of achievements don’t come along very often. To do what he has done is terrific.

“Lyndon is a big guy who puts himself about. He isn’t particularly mobile, but he gets in where it hurts doesn’t he? He got himself in front of the Faroes defender for the goal. That is his job when the ball comes in. He did it well and got his reward.

“Scotland struggled a bit didn’t they? Especially in the first-half. The Faroes looked the better team. But Scotland weathered the storm, scored late on and got the win and that is all that matters. They have put themselves in a tremendous position now.”

Indeed they have. If Scotland, who are four points ahead of Israel in Group F with two qualifiers remaining, beat Moldova in the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau next month they will finish in the runners-up spot in their section and progress to the second round. 

Dykes and Ryan Christie, who has scored four times in 23 international appearances, will both be suspended for the game against Roberto Bordin’s team after picking up bookings on Tuesday night. But Stein is still confident that Steve Clarke’s side can triumph and go through without them.

He thinks that a front line comprising Che Adams of Southampton, who was ruled out of the Faroes match by a minor injury, and Kevin Nisbet of Hibernian, who came on late in the game in Torsvollur, can supply the goals which the national team need to triumph away in their penultimate fixture.

“Lyndon has been scoring and if you don’t score you don’t win games it’s a simple as that,” he said. “But hopefully Adams will be fit. Maybe Nisbet will come in. They should beat Moldova. It’s not as if they have to play Denmark in their next game. I think they will go to Moldova, have a good go at it and get the job done.

“Yes, they have got to bring in a striker, but it’s a good opportunity for Nisbet. He has done well for Hibs and has played for Scotland several times now. If one man goes out the team it’s another one’s chance to prove what he can do.”

Whoever comes in for Dykes will find it hard to replicate Stein’s goalscoring heroics for Scotland regardless of how well they perform.

No player wearing a dark blue jersey has netted four times in 90 minutes since the 74-year-old did so in a Mexico ‘70 qualifier against Cyprus in front of a crowd of 39,095 at Hampden back in 1969.

He was also on target in no fewer than five consecutive Scotland matches – against Wales, Northern Ireland, England, Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland - that year.

Former Aberdeen, Borussia Dortmund and Twente striker Scott Booth scored in four straight appearances for Scotland against the Faroe Islands, Russia, Finland and San Marino in 1994 and 1995 – but Craig Brown’s team played other games in between those outings.

The man who put Rangers in front in their European Cup Winners’ Cup final win over Moscow Dynamo in the Nou Camp in 1972 loved representing his country and looks back on his international career with great fondness. 

“Everybody wants to play for their country,” said Stein. “I can remember scoring the goals. I can certainly remember the one at Wembley. That is the one that sticks out the most. Unfortunately, England scored four that day.

“I can also remember scoring four against Cyprus. The performance from the whole team that day was tremendous and the reception we got from the fans was brilliant.

“But Scotland had a decent team then. We had Tommy Gemmell, Billy McNeill, John Greig, Eddie Gray, Billy Bremner, Willie Henderson, Charlie Cooke and Alan Gilzean playing against Cyprus that day. We had great individual players at the time.

“You didn’t get a lot of time to know each other, just two or three days. It isn’t easy to get used to tactics in such a short space of time. But I was playing with and against a lot of them at club level. And at the end of the day, it was still about scoring goals.”

Stein, who won 21 caps in total between 1968 and 1973 and scored nine goals, was unable to help Scotland qualify for either the World Cup finals in Mexico in 1970 or the European Championship finals in Belgium in 1972.

West Germany finished four points ahead of this country in the qualifying campaign for the first tournament and Belgium topped their section in the latter.

But the former Hibs, Rangers, Coventry City and Kilmarnock player is optimistic Andy Robertson and his compatriots can beat Moldova, finish second in Group F and clinch a place in the Qatar 2022 play-offs next March without Dykes - and then reach their first World Cup finals since France ’98.