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Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Saturday, 14 November 2009

Wales 3-0 Scotland

By Peter Shuttleworth

Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey celebrated his second goal in his 11th Wales cap

Midfielder Aaron Ramsey inspired Wales to a convincing friendly victory over sluggish Scotland in Cardiff.

Arsenal's teenage sensation set up two and scored a stunner himself as Wales stretched their unbeaten run over the bewildered Scots to five games.

Ramsey crossed for David Edwards to volley Wales into a 16th-minute lead after the Scots missed early openings.

The 18-year-old played a major role in Simon Church's first Wales goal before Ramsey's superb individual strike.

The hugely-talented playmaker, substituted in the 57th minute, was handed the man-of-the-match award despite playing less than two thirds of the game.

But the former Cardiff City midfielder was the star of the show back at the home of the Bluebirds as Ramsey showed why there is such expectation around Wales' next big thing.

Yet it could have been very different if Scotland had only shown the cutting edge that Wales would show later.

Former England Under-21 international Danny Fox was enjoying his first Scotland cap, and one of his first touches for his adopted country almost set up an opener.

606: DEBATE

The Celtic left-back's teasing low fifth-minute cross was guided goalwards by James McFadden inside the six-yard box, but the Birmingham City striker was denied by Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey's point-blank save.

The Scots had settled quicker and had another great chance to break the deadlock a minute later when Kenny Miller sprinted onto Graham Dorrans' defence-splitting pass.

But the Rangers striker's first touch took him away from goal, to allow Sam Ricketts to cover, and Miller showed why he is without a goal in his last nine internationals as he shot wide.

And Scotland would be quick to rue their early misses.

The Cardiff City Stadium is already establishing a reputation of hosting games with goals - Cardiff have scored 30 in 10 Championship games since it opened in the summer - and after a quarter of an hour, Wales joined in the free-scoring fun.

Fox was outfoxed by a lovely one-two between Ramsey and Sam Ricketts on Wales' right-hand touchline and the Arsenal youngster's cut back was clinically volleyed into the net by Edwards.

The Wolves man's acrobatic finish from 10 yards out was a goal against the run of play but Edwards, like the stadium, is establishing himself as a goalscoring regular as he celebrated his third goal from midfield from only 18 Wales appearances.

Ramsey began to assert his authority on the game - the 104th meeting of these two old foes - as the balance swung towards the hosts.

The teenager's incisive pass set Joe Ledley free inside the box and his left-sided cut back was nudged home inside the six-yard box by Church.

The 20-year-old striker celebrated his first international goal - and second inside a week following his leveller in Reading's 1-1 draw with Ipswich - by pointing to the sky as he poignantly remembered his late father Bruce, who died in September.

Scotland seemed lost in midfield, despite boasting Champions League-winning Manchester United star Darren Fletcher, as Ramsey pulled the strings and opened up a shaky Scots defence.

As the critics began to splutter superlatives, Ramsey went one better three minutes later as he highlighted his jaw-dropping talent.

The Gunners teenager capitalised on Fletcher's misplaced pass to dance through the visiting defence and hand Wales their biggest half-time advantage for six years.

Ramsey, who has a history of scoring special goals at Under-21 level, ran from just inside his own half, past Stephen McManus and Fletcher, to guide the ball past helpless Scottish keeper David Marshall.

He enjoyed a slice of luck as when Ramsey looked like he lost the ball, it ricocheted back into his path as he showed that players can make their own luck.

His second goal in successive international matches - after opening his Wales goal account in the 2-0 win in Liechtenstein - does nothing to play down the hype around the man from Caerphilly.

Scotland were shell-shocked as Wales attacked at will and should have gone further behind when Ramsey set up striker Ched Evans who ran down the left flank before cutting inside and shooting - but Marshall's feet denied him.

And Wales should have been awarded a penalty when Church pounced on the loose ball but was bundled over in the box by a clumsy Gary Caldwell.

Referee Cyrill Zimmermann, though, waved away the protests.

Geroge Burley
Scotland boss George Burley suffered his fourth successive away defeat

The estimated 4,000-strong travelling Tartan Army understandably showed their displeasure at half-time as Scotland were booed off.

Burley's team were being exposed by Toshack's youngsters who were without three Premier League players in James Collins, Simon Davies and captain Craig Bellamy.

And if it was not for Zimmermann's generosity, Scotland would have surely been reduced to ten men early in the second half.

McManus' miskicked back-pass summed up Scotland's day and as substitute Sam Vokes raced away, stopper Marshall sent the striker tumbling.

But the Swiss official saved Cardiff keeper Marshall from an early bath on his home club ground as Zimmermann showed him a yellow card when, as last man, he deserved a red - and if this was a competitive international, that surely would have been the case.

As much as Wales' rookies impressed, Scotland's lacklustre display did not have the braveheart spirit that their passionate and committed fans expect.

The Scots, though, did enjoy some respite when Ramsey was replaced by Toshack to a deserved standing ovation just before the hour mark as both managers began their raft of substitutions.

Ramsey has been nursing a back complaint in the week and like many of his young Welsh team-mates, he hopes to play a starring role for their Under-21 side in Bosnia on Wednesday as Brian Flynn's table-toppers hope to all but seal top place in Group Three.

Wales' average age of 22 was raised slightly when one-time Cardiff heroes Danny Gabbidon and Rob Earnshaw came on to rapturous applause.

But it was a current Cardiff favourite that almost had the last word as Scotland pressed for a consolation goal.

Ross McCormack's shot was well saved by Hennessey and the Wolves keeper had to be at his best again in the final minutes to keep out Steven Fletcher's header.

Scotland have not beaten Wales since 1984 and that did not look like altering here as the Scots suffered their fourth successive away defeat - and their fourth road trip on the trot where they have not scored.

The pressure cranks up on Scots boss Burley while his Wales counterpart John Toshack will look at Ramsey and co and hope his future is bright.


Wales: Hennessey, Ricketts, Nyatanga (Gabbidon 60), Williams, Morgan, Bale, Ledley (King 80), Ramsey (Allen 57), Edwards (Cotterill 88), Evans (Vokes 45), Church (Earnshaw 45).
Subs Not Used: Brown, Easter, Dorman, Matthews, Blake.

Booked: Morgan.

Scotland: Marshall, Hutton, McManus, Gary Caldwell, Fox (Steven Fletcher 55), Dorrans (Robson 71), Darren Fletcher, Cowie (Riordan 78), Miller (Wallace 55), Naismith (McCormack 62), McFadden (Kyle 62).
Subs Not Used: Langfield, Gallacher, Berra, Steven Caldwell, Adam.

Booked: Marshall.

Att: 13,844

Referee: Cyrill Zimmermann (Switzerland)



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see also
Saturday football as it happened
14 Nov 09 |  Football
Modest Ramsey lauds team effort
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Burley reeling after Scots loss
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Burley not under threat, says SFA
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Brown concern over Scots plight
14 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Wales to face Scotland in Cardiff
07 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals


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FROM OTHER SPORT SITES
Glasgow Evening Times Naismith has Euro vision despite woe in Wales ... - 1 hr ago
Sunday People WALES 3-0 SCOTLAND - 18 hrs ago
News of the World Star man Ramsey piles pressure on Burley - 19 hrs ago
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