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Friday, 14 February, 2003, 00:04 GMT
Irish too strong for Scots
Clinton Morrison was on target for the Irish
The Irish dominated the match at Hampden
Scotland 0-2 Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr made the perfect start to his new job with a comfortable win over a lamentable Scotland side at Hampden Park.

The men in green responded to the news of former skipper Roy Keane's ill-timed decision to quit international football with a powerful display.

The visitors established their superiority with early goals from Kevin Kilbane and Clinton Morrison and never looked back.

Despite missing several high-profile players, the Irish were better in every department than their sluggish opponents.

With World Cup strike force Robbie Keane and Damien Duff missing, the Irish started with Morrison and Gary Doherty and the muscular front pair had the Scots in a spin right from the start.

Scotland looked nervous and disjointed and were punished after eight minutes when Kilbane was allowed the freedom of the penalty box to glance home a header from Stephen Reid's free kick.

Worse was to come for the Scots eight minutes later when a goalkeeping error from Neil Sullivan gifted the Irish a second goal.

We were always in control after we scored

Irish coach Brian Kerr

The Spurs keeper flapped at a hopeful high ball under pressure from Doherty and the ball fell straight to Morrison, who volleyed in from 18 yards.

Don Hutchison, making his first international appearance in 16 months, gave Scotland a glimpse of goal after 21 minutes, but Stevie Crawford was slow to react to his strike partner's clever flick and the chance was gone when he stumbled.

Scotland enjoyed a period of prolonged possession in the last ten minutes of the first half but found it difficult to break down Kerr's well-organised team.

When the Scots did find a chink in the Irish rearguard, Matt Holland's great challenge denied Barry Ferguson a 44th minute close range header at goal.

Morrison went close to grabbing a second goal early in the second period but his fierce shot on the turn whistled inches over the bar.

Stephen Carr then warmed the fingers of substitute keeper Paul Gallacher as the Irish continued to look dangerous on the break.

We didn't do enough and we will have to do more when we play Iceland

Scotland coach Berti Vogts

Scotland huffed and puffed in a bid to force their way back into the game but lacked ideas going forward and Irish goalkeeper Dean Kiely was never tested.

Substitutes Paul Devlin and Jamie Smith offered some crumbs of comfort with their willing running but there was to be no reward for their industry.

Berti Vogts has now completed one year in charge of Scotland and this reverse marks his seventh defeat in ten full internationals.

How the German coach must wish he had some of the talent Kerr has available to him.


Scotland: Sullivan (Gallacher 45), Caldwell, Anderson, Dailly, Graham Alexander, Lambert (Gemmill 45), Ferguson (Cameron 65), Naysmith, McCann (Smith 65), Crawford (Thompson 65), Hutchison (Devlin 45).
Subs Not Used: Miller, Dobie, Kyle, McNamara, Neil Alexander, Malcolm.

Rep of Ireland: Kiely (Colgan 82), Carr, O'Shea (Dunne 81), Breen (O'Brien 90), Harte, Reid (Healy 78), Holland, Kinsella (Carsley 78), Kilbane, Morrison, Doherty (Connolly 73).
Subs Not Used: Maybury, McPhail, Barrett.

Attendance: 33,337

Referee: E Draamhaar (Holland).

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Republic boss Brian Kerr
"It's a real honour"
Scotland coach Berti Vogts
"We made two mistakes and it led to two goals"
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