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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 18:42 GMT
Young Scots dump Irish
Sunderland striker Kevin Kyle was dangerous for Scotland
Striker Kevin Kyle caused the Irish several problems
Scotland U-21 2-0 Republic of Ireland U-21

Scotland's youngsters continued their good run under coach Rainer Bonhof with a comfortable win over the Republic of Ireland at Rugby Park.

Celtic striker Shaun Maloney further enhanced his reputation with a terrific free kick strike to put Scotland in front and Simon Lynch added the second goal.

The margin of victory could have been greater had James McFadden not managed to miss a penalty.

The first 45 minutes were evenly contested but as the match progressed the Scots began to take control.

The hosts adopted a more aggressive approach, with Newcastle's Brian Kerr and Manchester United's Michael Stewart giving the midfield real bite in the second period.

Both teams began the match brightly and the visitors looked particularly dangerous in wide areas.

Ireland gave the Scots a scare in the seventh minute when Wes Hoolahan's corner broke to John Thompson, but his low shot was saved by Derek Soutar from eight yards.

Sunderland striker Kevin Kyle almost opened the scoring for Scotland with a glorious long-range effort in the 15th minute, but his 30-yard effort flew inches over the crossbar.

Maloney tries to get past Brennan
Both sides displayed great endeavour
The home side were let off the hook in the 29th minute when a mistake by Brian Kerr was jumped upon by Andy Reid, but he screwed his effort wide.

The young Scots were again fortunate two minutes later when Kerr clearly brought down Butler in the area, but the Irish penalty claims were ignored by the Dutch match officials.

Five minutes before the half time interval Maloney fired Scotland in front with a wonderful bending free kick from 25 yards out, following a foul on Peter Canero.

Nine minutes into the second period, Irish keeper Graham Stack had to look smart to block a low drive from Stephen Caldwell after the Scottish skipper had been quickest to react to a loose ball from a corner kick.

With almost an hour gone, substitute McFadden scorned a great chance to extend the Scots' advantage when he dragged a penalty kick wide of the target.

The award had been made when Stewart had his heels clipped by Sean Thornton in what looked like an accidental clash.

Preston striker Lynch arrived as a 67th minute replacement and was on the scoresheet within 60 seconds.

The former Celtic youngster was involved in a neat exchange with Canero on the edge of the penalty area and when Stack saved his initial shot, he was first to the rebound to net from close range.

Scotland U21: Soutar, Caldwell, Hammell, Kennedy, Boyd, Kerr, Canero, Pearson, Kyle, Williams, Maloney. Subs: McGregor, Crainey, Dowie, Duff, Hughes, Stewart, Lynch, McFadden, Mackie, Miller, Gordon.

Rep of Ireland U21: Stack, Brennan, Tierney, Byrne, Goodwin, Thompson, Butler, Reid, Barrett, Dempsey, Hoolahan. Subs: Thornton, Burne, Daly, Lefter, Melligan, Hunt.

Referee: Ben Haverkort (Holland)

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