THE South African men's hockey team were made to fight all the way by Scotland yesterday, holding on for a hard-earned 6-5 victory in their last match of the Celtic Cup in Lisburn in Northern Ireland.
In a match featuring a brace from both Ian Haley and Lloyd Norris-Jones for SA, three penalty strokes and two yellow cards, Dan Coultas stole the show by scoring all five of Scotland's goals.
SA coach Gregg Clark rested captain Austin Smith and Jonty Robinson for their second successive match - both have flu - with Wade Paton again taking charge.
The South Africans opened the scoring in the eight minute through Thornton McDade, who was bundled over by Scottish goalkeeper Alan Dick but managed to squeeze the ball past him after a solid build-up from the SA midfield.
McDade's strike opened the floodgates as the South Africans scored three goals in as many minutes through a superb Ian Haley brace and one from Norris-Jones.
Haley opened his account 15 minutes into the game after latching onto a wayward shot from Julian Hykes, before unleashing a strike of his own with Dick stranded behind a wall of defenders.
Scotland had barely regrouped when Haley doubled his tally after picking up a pass in the area, finding the net with a simple deflection as Dick stood no chance of saving from close range.
The South African engine room continued to work tirelessly as the tourists pushed for another goal after showing fine form throughout the opening period.
A vital challenge from defender Lloyd Madsen turned defence into attack as McDade led Norris-Jones to a clear route to the Scottish goal with only Dick to beat, as the striker scored his second goal of the tour.
Scotland did well to pull one back with seconds left before the break, with Coultas scoring from the Scots' first penalty corner.
The Scottish side looked the better team as the second period got underway, looking to close the gap.
Coultas proved to be a thorn in the South Africans' side, scoring a second penalty corner five minutes into the second stanza.
The Scottish defender completed his hat trick six minutes later from a penalty stroke, sending goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse the wrong way as he netted a well-taken stroke from the spot, before scoring his fourth of the afternoon four minutes later as Scotland drew level at 4-4.
SA regained the lead a minute later when Norris-Jones grabbed his second goal after losing his marker in the Scottish area, shooting into the bottom left of the net.
The match looked set to remain at 5-4 but an infringement in the Scottish area allowed Andrew Cronje to convert from the spot, extending his side's lead to 6-4.
But Coultas was to have the last say, rounding off his fifth goal through another penalty stroke, with Pieterse receiving a yellow card for a foul in the area.