Scotland’s youngsters overcame their Northern Irish counterparts with an entertaining 3-1 victory at Firhill last night. Leigh Griffiths opened the scoring for Scotland before Northern Ireland equalised through O’Kane. Scotland skipper Paul Hanlon restored Scotland’s lead in the second half, before Nick Ross scored a last minute goal to put some gloss on the result.
The match was a chance for Billy Stark to blood some new youngsters before the 2013 Qualifying campaign.
Dundee striker Griffiths opened the scoring with a superb finish after 12 minutes. Bradden Inman played a ball into Griffiths’ path, who then struck a sweet left footed shot past the Northern Irish keeper.
Scotland’s passing and attacking threat, caused the Northern Irish defence problems. But despite this, Northern Ireland still carried their own threat and they could have equalised on the 20 minute mark when Falkirk keeper Jamie Barclay reacted well to turn a 35 yard strike from Billy Kee, around the post and out for a corner.
Just before the half hour mark, Northern Ireland equalised against the run of play. Torquay’s Eunan O’Kane curled in a cross from the edge of the box and it found its way into the back of the net.
Into the second half and it was the Irish who started well, and they almost took the lead ten minutes into the half after the restart when Kee got on the end of a corner sent in by substitute Josh Carson, but his header came off the crossbar.
Scotland then got back into the game, Liam Palmer fired just wide of the post from the edge of the box, however it was Scotland captain Paul Hanlon, leading by example, who restored Scotland’s lead on 64 minutes.
Four minutes later Alex MacDonald came close to scoring Scotland’s third when his 25 yard free kick was just saved vy Wayne Drummond. And the Scots had Craig Thomson to thank, as he denied Northern Ireland an equaliser, as he cleared a Sean McCaskin header off the line.
But the game was wrapped up in the final minute when Nick Ross scored Scotland’s third with virtualy the last kick of the game. MacDonald rose to stop Irish keeper Drummond from getting on the end of a high ball and it fell to Ross who scored from 25 yards out.
Scotland: Barclay, Thomson, Hanlon (Booth), Perry, Hanley, Hutton (Ross), Armstrong (Duffie), Inman (MacDonald), Griffiths (Palmer), Russell (Wylde), Fleck (Ness).
Subs not Used: Ridgers, Andrews.
Northern Ireland: Drummond, McLaughlin, Ferguson, Breeze (Clucas), McCaskin, Devine (Bagnall), Bryan (Lavery), McLaughlin, Kee (Boyce), Grigg, O’Kane (Carson).
Subs not Used: Deane, Brennan.
Match Photos[nggallery id=8]
© Photos copyright of Vagelis Georgariou