Kevin Kyle pounces to stab home Scotland's second goal
Scotland Future 2-1 Northern Ireland B
First-half goals from Don Hutchison and Kevin Kyle were enough to beat
Northern Ireland in the B international at Firhill.
Steve Jones pulled one back after the break, but the Scots hung on for a victory that they just about deserved.
A crowd of just 1,502 witnessed Scotland's Future team edge out Sammy McIlroy's second string.
Berti Vogts has been searching for many things since taking over the Scotland
job, but finding very few, at least ones which also please the Tartan Army.
But one of the German's first "discoveries", the big, raw, battering ram of
a centre forward that is Kevin Kyle, could soon be brought back into the full
He made the opener by heading a Paul Devlin free-kick from the right
diagonally across goal for Don Hutchison to convert from close range.
And then, a few seconds later, Kyle took advantage of a breakdown in
communications between goalkeeper Tommy Evans and Stephen Craigan, the Partick
Thistle defender playing on his home ground, to prod in a second.
But, then again, this was only a second-string international at Firhill against
a nation that is currently finding results even harder to come by.
Don Hutchinson celebrates the opening goal
The visitors also had more Scottish-based players than the home side as Vogts
used the game as extra practice for players whose English campaigns had just
Kyle had come close early on with a scuffed finish after Tommy Evans, the Scunthorpe
goalkeeper, had done well to thwart Christian Dailly.
But the Irish - supported by a small but vocal pocket of fans - also had
their first-half moments.
Glentoran's Andy Smith, the former Sheffield United
striker, fired across goal and wide before forcing goalkeeper Paul Gallacher
into a good block after springing the offside trap.
Northern Ireland's reply was a rare goal, with Crewe's Steve Jones slotting
past Scotland's replacement goalkeeper, Kenny Arthur, after Smith had cleverly put
The Scots should have made it 3-1 in the second half, when Kyle headed down a Gary Naysmith cross to
where Hutchison was again lurking.
It should have been a simple finish as
Elliott Morris, the substitute goalkeeper, was nowhere, but somehow Hutchinson put it
Then Morris pulled off a memorable double save, first to keep out a Hutchison
header and then block Kyle's powerful follow-up from only a few yards out.
Smith came close to an equaliser when he fired just wide after substitute Gary
Hamilton had set him up at the near post.
A couple of half chances came Andy Kirk's way, but the Hearts striker could
not make anything of them and the equaliser never materialised.
Scotland B: Gallacher, Alexander, Naysmith, Dailly,
Stephen Caldwell, Gary Caldwell, Devlin, Kerr, Kyle, Hutchison,
McFadden. Subs: Arthur, Gray, Ross, Fletcher, Noble, Lynch,
Northern Ireland B: Evans, Duff, Grant McCann, Stephen Craigan,
McAuley, Griffin, Jones, Doherty, Kirk, Smith, Elliott. Subs:
Morris, Holmes, Hamilton, Hamill, Carlisle.
Referee: M McCurry (Scotland)