Sophie Howard headed in with the very last touch of the game to earn Scotland a dramatic draw with Belgium and secure their first Nations League point.
The centre-back rose to divert goalkeeper Lee Gibson’s desperate free-kick to end a frustrating contest on a high.
Scotland had looked destined to suffer successive defeats following Friday’s loss to England, after fine saves from Nicky Evrard, the early loss of Caroline Weir to injury and Kassandra Missipo’s header which gave Belgium the advantage.
However, Howard rose to nudge in a potentially precious leveller in a section that will also, in part, help determine qualification for the next Euros.
“It hit my head, it hit my bun, it went in and that’s all I can remember,” Howard told BBC Scotland afterwards. “I was thinking: ‘We need to score this’ and we did.”
It might only be a point at home, but with the Netherlands beating England 2-1, it was vital to prevent Pedro Martinez Losa’s team becoming detached at the bottom of Group A1.
Belgium’s win over the Dutch on Friday was their first in five outings, while Scotland had their six-game unbeaten run ended in Sunderland.
However, the hosts had emerged from running the European champions close with renewed confidence and started the brighter.
Winger Claire Emslie had a shot deflected just wide and midfielder Christy Grimshaw forced a point-blank save from goalkeeper Evrard.
As the visitors settled, Marie Detruyer shot across the face of goal and, while Scotland were down to 10 with Real Madrid’s Weir off receiving treatment, Jassina Blom dispossessed Sam Kerr but fired weakly at Gibson.
Weir made a brave attempt to return, but Scotland were soon shorn of the midfielder as she broke down again to be replaced with Amy Rodgers after only 20 minutes.
Scotland found themselves further under pressure as Belgium claimed for a penalty after the ball brushed Rachel Corsie’s arm before the home captain’s forehead deflected a Sari Kees drive over the crossbar.
Evrard saved superbly after Grimshaw twisted athletically to head towards the far corner shortly before the break.
However, it was Belgium who were to find a way through seven minutes after the restart when midfielder Missipo was found unmarked at the back post after Scotland failed to clear a corner.
All looked lost for the disjointed Scots, but in the frantic closing stages, Corsie headed just wide, made a last-ditch intervention and Amy Gallacher glanced another effort before Howard rose highest to send Hampden into raptures.
Player of the match – Christy Grimshaw (Scotland)
Off the mark but much work to do – analysis
Martinez Losa’s watchwords following the defeat by England were “momentum” and “consistency” – and he stuck by the same starting line-up as he looked to repeat what was a heartening display.
They started how they finished in Sunderland, but the loss of the influential Weir visibly shook them out of their rhythm.
Having also lost Erin Cuthbert and Emma Watson before the England game, the Scots were now operating without their three most celebrated and creative forces.
Belgium had achieved what many saw as a shock win over the Dutch despite having only 25% possession and they showed a similar combination of defensive resilience and forward threat on the break.
It has to be remembered, though, that this is a side that reached the knockout stages of Euro 2022 and their early lead in Group A1 shows they are not short of quality.
Across this Nations League double header, Scotland have shown they can compete at this level.
However, they know they are already playing catch-up as they bid to avoid finishing bottom and automatic relegation that would have knock-on effects for their prospects of qualifying for the Euro 2025 finals.
What they said
Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa: “Very proud of the team. I think the way we played, we deserved more from the game. I think we created many chances.
“We were aware we had a very difficult opponent. They compete very well with a gameplan and were very good at executing it as we could see. Losing Caroline for us is a big loss and the referee needs to be more aware of situations when they are targeting our best players.”
Belgium head coach Ives Serneels: “I think it’s normal when you are 1-0 up in the last minute, you hope you take the three points. That kind of goal, when you see it after the game, it’s a little bit disappointing.
“At the other side, we did two wonderful games this week. In the first half, it was not easy for us here, but we came out good in the second half. We scored a goal, we have control and I think we had very good opportunities to make the second goal and that the match would end with three points for us.”
Scotland next visit the Dutch on 27 October before hosting the same opponents four days later. Both games will be live on the BBC.
- 22GrimshawSubstituted forMacLeanat 65′minutes
- 9WeirSubstituted forRodgersat 20′minutes
- 18EmslieBooked at 34minsSubstituted forDavidsonat 64′minutes
- 20ThomasSubstituted forGallacherat 74′minutes
- 10HansonSubstituted forEvansat 74′minutes
- 8DelacauwSubstituted forCaymanat 63′minutes
- 6De Caigny
- 18De Neve
- 20DetruyerSubstituted forWijnantsat 84′minutes
- 23MissipoSubstituted forVan Belleat 81′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 9WullaertSubstituted forTeulingsat 85′minutes
- 14BlomSubstituted forFonat 64′minutes
- 3Van Belle