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Bonzer night for Rhodes as he leads Scotland fightback over Socceroos

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Rhodes, who was called up n place of the injury Jamie Mackie, nearly secured a dream start on four minutes when James Morrison raced free onto a Robert Snodgrass pass before swinging in a cross into the six yard box. However, Rhodes failed to get a decent touch on the ball and the chance went begging.

Three minutes later and the Huddersfield striker headed an Alan Hutton cross just wide of Mark Schwarzer’s left hand post, before Everton striker Steven Naismith tried his luck from distance, but Schwarzer was equal too it and saved down to his right.

With Scotland on the ascendancy, Australia caught the Scottish backline unaware as they took a quick throw-in which left Robbie Kruse racing into the Scots box. Gary Caldwell managed to block Kruse’s cross with the ball crossing the line, however player continued and a Brett Holman shot appeared to cross the line before being handled by Danny Fox inside the goal. And still play raged on with the referee Tom Hagen only blowing his whistle when the ball went out for a corner.

Protests from the visitors fell on deaf ears and when the corner was taken, Christophe Berra headed it clear only as far as Bresciano who unleashed an unstoppable volley from 30 yards out beating the helpless Allan McGregor in goal.

McGregor was replaced minutes later by Blackpool’s Matt Gilks, to make his debut, before a struggling Morrison was replaced by Shaun Maloney.

With the Aussies buoyed by their goal and the home crowd sparse in numbers as it was fearing the worst, the Scots were hauled back into the game from that man Rhodes. Danny Fox making his second appearance for Scotland whipped in a cross from the left which was inch perfect for Rhodes to fling himself at it and fire a diving header past Schwarzer and into the far corner of the Aussies goal.

Into the second half and the Aussies nearly capitalised on a mistake by the frozen out Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton, however Gilks denied Luke Wilkshire from 14 yards out.

Fox, playing on the left in place of Phil Bardsley, had a hand in the second goal for Scotland as he whipped in a cross to the back post, but Davidson headed the ball into his own net on his debut, giving Scotland a 2-1 lead.

Scotland brought on Leeds United striker Ross McCormack, with Rhodes making way and it was the substitute who extended Scotland’s lead by firing a shot from the edge of the box to clinch the win for Craig Levein’s side.

All the talk ahead of the match was of Craig Levein’s decision to call up Rangers player Ian Black, who plies his trade in the Third Division. A decision that was met with plenty of criticism across the country, and the fans made their feelings known on 87 minutes when they booed Black when he came on for Gary Caldwell. Whether it was aimed at the player himself, or at Levein for selecting him in the first place and then giving him a game – is of little importance now.

Despite my own strong opinions of Black being called up to the Scotland squad, no player deserves to be booed by their home supporters and those members of the Tartan Army shamed themselves by their actions.

Scotland: McGregor (Gk) (Gilks, 21), Hutton (Martin, 64), Fox(Mulgrew, 64) Caldwell (Cpt) (Black, 84), Webster, Snodgrass, Naismith, Rhodes (McCormack, 64), Morrison (Maloney, 26)

Subs not used: Goodwillie, Phillips, Cowie, Marshall (Gk), Bannan.

Australia: Schwarzer (Gk) (Federici, 46), Neill (Cpt), Williams, Ognenovski (McGowan), Wilkshire, Carney (Davidson, 60), Holman (MacDonald, 46), Valeri, Kruse, Brosque (Thomson, 84), Bresciano (Jedinak, 46)

Subs not used: Langarak (Gk), Kilkenny, Davidson.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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