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Scotland 0-0 Northern Ireland

By Colin Moffat

James McFadden in action for Scotland at Hampden
McFadden was Scotland's most dangerous player

Ten-man Northern Ireland were denied a victory in Scotland when Allan McGregor saved David Healy's penalty.

The substitute goalkeeper produced a fine diving stop on the hour to atone for bringing down Warren Feeney.

Minutes before the penalty award, Ryan McGivern saw his international debut marred by picking up two yellow cards.

Northern Ireland keeper Maik Taylor made good saves to thwart Darren Barr and James McFadden as the Scots failed to convert their numerical advantage.

The result leaves George Burley without a win in three games at the helm for Scotland and the hosts still searching for their first friendly win at Hampden since 1996.

Northern Ireland will rue Healy's miss but can be content with a good defensive performance, with Jonny Evans turning in a commanding display.

Nigel Worthington's side, decimated by injuries, were content to pack men behind the ball and invite Scotland forward during a drab first half.

And the home side struggled to break down the visitors, with far too many passes going astray in midfield.

Scotland forward McFadden was the liveliest player on show, although there were times when he left team-mates exasperated with his reluctance to part with the ball.

The Birmingham striker left a trail of defenders in his wake with a thrilling burst into the penalty area but his low cross was scrambled clear.

Soon after, he made room for a shot with a clever jink only to scuff his effort into the arms of Northern Ireland skipper Maik Taylor.

Celtic's Barry Robson was introduced after the interval and the substitute zipped a strike from 25 yards over the crossbar after a period of patient passing from the Scots.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

A galloping run from Scott Brown was brought to a crude end by a tug from McGivern, which earned the teenager his second yellow card on 57 minutes.

McFadden curled a shot wide as the Scots pressed for the breakthrough but Northern Ireland broke upfield and won a penalty when Feeney was brought crashing down by the sprawling McGregor, a half time replacement for Craig Gordon.

However, the Rangers goalkeeper flew to his right to push away Healy's spot-kick.

Barr was another half time substitute for Scotland and the Falkirk defender was denied a goal on his debut when Taylor held on to his powerful header from Robson's corner.

Taylor then made an impressive reaction stop to beat away McFadden's sharp shot on the turn from close range.

Scotland will hope to be sharper in attack for the forthcoming World Cup qualifying double-header against Macedonia and Iceland, while Northern Ireland can take heart ahead of their clash with Slovakia.


Scotland: Gordon (McGregor 46), Alexander, McManus (Barr 46), Weir (Berra 72), Naysmith, Brown, Thomson (Robson 46), Darren Fletcher (Stewart 69), Morrison (Commons 62), Miller, McFadden. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Whittaker, Boyd, Steven Fletcher, Clarkson.

Booked: McGregor.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, McAuley (Duff 76), Evans, Craigan, McGivern, Baird, Clingan (O'Connor 58), Davis, Brunt (Feeney 55), Healy, Paterson (Shiels 46). Subs Not Used: Mannus. Sent Off: McGivern (57).

Booked: McGivern.

Att: 28,072

Ref: Nicolai Vollquartz (Denmark).




see also
Burley pleased with Scots warm-up
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Worthington praises solid display
20 Aug 08 |  Internationals


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