Northern Ireland 1 Scotland 1

Despite going a goal down early in the game Scotland fought back to finish the game all square and earn their first point in Belfast since 2011.

This match was preceded by a minute of applause to commemorate the passing of popular former Northern Ireland coach Frankie Wilson.

Scotland then kicked off, and the match proceeded at a furious pace in the opening stages: Scotland able to attack almost immediately as Smith crossed into the box from a free kick following a foul on McGivern, but the ball was well claimed by Brown in the Northern Ireland goal.

Play raged to the opposite end, and the home side were delighted as Corey Smith’s right foot effort following Michael Morgan’s cut back found its way into the back of the Scotland net to give the home side a fourth minute lead.

Northern Ireland take an early lead

The away side tried to hit back instantly, and thought that they might have had a penalty, but Jayden McGivern was instead booked for simulation in the Northern Ireland penalty area by ref Ben Sheppard.

Despite being in arrears, Scotland were playing some tidy, possession based football. This was demonstrated on 11 minutes, when Aaron Nicholson and James Carnihan combined on the right hand side. The full back’s cut back was awkwardly sliced past his own upright by Logan Wallace.

The next attack again involved Nicholson – fed by Nathan Smith, the frontman shot wide.

Scotland continued to probe: a driving run by Waugh saw him shoot from the edge of the box but the effort was deflected wide for a corner. The resultant kick was worked to Waugh again. He fired in a dangerous delivery that proved to be just too high for McGivern and Nicholson in the middle.

These two men then worked together to create space for Carnihan who marauded down the right flank, but found the Northern Ireland goalkeeper Brown’s hands with his cross.

Scotland captain Martin Campbell in action

Brown was again in action in the 27th minute, as he saved well from McGivern after confident play by Waugh. The goalie then launched the ball forward to Morgan who bore in towards goal, but shot narrowly wide.

The last five minutes of the first half portrayed the end to end nature of the play perfectly.

A Waugh free-kick was headed goalwards by McGivern, but saved by Brown.

Play raged to the other end, where Morgan glanced on to Sean Brown, but his powerful shot was off target.

Northern Ireland then created two fantastic chances: a great challenge by Andrew Miller seemed to divert Morgan’s net-bound effort onto the goalpost; Sean Brown smacked the crossbar from the rebound.

Just as the Ulstermen were rueing their bad luck, an excellent cross from Aaron Nicholson found CALUM GEMMELL in space in the box, and his fine header found the corner of the net to give Scotland a deserved equaliser.

Calum Gemmell heads home Scotland's equaliser


Both sides made changes at the start of the second half, but the topsy-turvey nature of the match continued. Whilst Scotland enjoyed a good spell of possession, the hosts were still able to force a couple of corner kicks.

There then followed a couple of yellow cards for the home side as both teams tried to gain the ascendency: Morgan was booked for a pull on Nathan Smith and substitute Toe joined him in the notebook for chopping down Waugh.

The match was in a bit of a lull, but Northern Ireland created a couple of opportunities and only good defending by Mason-Bone and Carnihan repelled a dangerous attack led by Morgan.

Moments later a cross from Farley was deflected to substitute Charlie Chapman, but his effort went the wrong side of the upright.

Another home substitute, Jack Hastings, was next to try his luck, but his shot was too high.

As the game moved into the final stages, both sides went all out to try to guarantee a crucial three points.

This predictably saw breaks for both teams: Northern Ireland were thwarted in turn by a good Andrew Miller challenge, poor finishing and the offside flag; Scotland also saw sub Joe Prior denied by goalkeeper Brown.

Ruaridh Cant challenges for the ball late in the second half

Perhaps equally predictably, two more yellow cards were shown: Scotland’s Miller for a foul on Chapman and Northern Ireland’s Devlin for a lunge at Prior.


NORTHERN IRELAND: Brown, Farley, Walker, Wallace, McCart (c), Doulan, Smith, Donnelly, Morgan, Docherty, Brown.

Subs used: Toe, Chapman, Hastings.

SCOTLAND: Armour, Carnihan, Hannah, Miller, Clubb, Smith, Campbell, Nicholson, Waugh, Gemmell, McGivern.

Subs used: Cant, Mason-Bone, Prior, Downie, Cannon.

Starting Eleven

Scotland's Goal