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The BBC's Roddy Forsyth
"Another sturdy performance from Scotland"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
Dutch held by resolute Scotland
Neil McCann and Edgar Davids
Neil McCann tussles with Holland's Edgar Davids
Craig Brown's Scotland side produced a good defensive performance to draw nil-nil against a disappointing Holland in Arnhem.

The riot of noise and colour, with a full brass band the centrepiece, set an astonishing scene as the retractable roof closed on the state of the art stadium ahead of kick-off.

While the Dutch are gearing up to co-host Euro 2000, Scotland have no option but to look longer term and World Cup 2002 - yet Brown will have seen much in this battling display to encourage him.

Scotland's Don Hutchinson was unable to convert either of two of the best chances of the match, but in goal, Wimbledon's Neil Sullivan pulled off a couple of excellent saves to deny the Dutch.

Holland's Marc Overmars displays his pace

After the game, Craig Brown paid tribute to his battling team.

He said: "I'm always the super optimist and I'm always optimistic about the Scottish team because I trust them implicitly.

"When I send them out to do a certain job I know they will do it for me - and that includes the simple things like one of the two strikers tracking back from midfield if we lose the ball.

"I don't want to focus on the keeper because I think there was more to our performance than that but I thought Neil Sullivan was magnificent.

"Unfortunately we are sometimes the kind of team which needs a good goalkeeper."

Leicester centre-half Matt Elliott's recent misfortune at international level took a turn for the better as he passed a late fitness on a back problem to start the game.

Paul Lambert captained a depleted Scotland side, without the likes of Colin Hendry, Barry Ferguson and Callum Davidson because of injury.

I don't want to focus on the keeper because I think there was more to our performance than that but I thought Neil Sullivan was magnificent

Craig Brown

The Dutch, who started with Rangers' Arthur Numan in their backline, put out an experimental side although there were still heavyweights on display including Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert and Edgar Davids.

Holland started brightly - a searching pass from Frank de Boer saw the Scots' backline exposed on seven minutes but Arsenal forward Dennis Bergkamp sent his volley straight at Neil Sullivan.

Paul Bosvelt offered Scotland another warning shot with a powerful 25-yard drive narrowly wide of the mark on 15 minutes, while Paul Lambert did well to block a fierce Roy Makaay volley.

The Scots were offering little in response, although Neil McCann did burst clear on the left from a Don Hutchison pass on 26 minutes only for Andre Oiijer to cover the danger smartly.

Scotland's best chance came three minutes before the break when McCann intercepted a loose ball from Davids and found his way to the byeline but although his deep cross found Hutchinson, his close range effort crashed back off the post and away to safety.

Fair challenge

A De Boer free kick which missed the target by a fraction was an early indication in the second-half the Dutch were keen to step up a gear.

The visitors were placed in danger when McNamara was adjudged to have felled Bosveldt on the edge of the area, but De Boer's free kick was charged down by the Scottish wall.

Scotland were continuing to impress, McCann seeing a long range effort deflected away as Brown's men got forward in surprising numbers with their pressing unsettling the Dutch.

Sullivan needed to be at his acrobatic best to deny a Zenden cross drifting into the net on 77 minutes, then seconds later pushed away an angled drive from the busy Kluivert.

Holland had loud penalty claims refused after 81 minutes when Zenden appeared to escape Dailly's attentions, but the challenge, though heavy, was ruled to be a fair one.

Scotland were on the backfoot by now and van Hooijdonk almost marked his arrival by finding a winner only to screw a shot wide from 12 yards out with four minutes remaining.

Holland: van der Sar, Ooijer, Konterman, F. de Boer, Numan, Bosvelt, Makaay, Davids, Hasselbaink, Bergkamp, Overmars. Subs: Reiziger, Cocu, Bogarde, Seedorf, Westerveld, van Hooijdonk, Kluivert, van Bronckhorst, Winter, Talan, Stam, Zenden.

Scotland: Sullivan, Dailly, Ritchie, Weir, Elliott, Lambert, Dodds, Burley, McNamara, Hutchison, N. McCann. Subs: Gould, O'Neil, Holt, Durrant, Johnston, Cameron, Burchill.

Referee: H Strampe (Germany)

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