Scotland’s second squad – and second team – saw off a poor Denmark side at Hampden thanks to a Matt Ritchie goal.
The national side, picked from a separate squad to that which defeated the Czech Republic in Prague byu the same scoreline last week, included debutants Kieran Tierney and John McGinn – but only after a revised teamsheet was issued prior to kick-off handing McGinn a start and relegating Ikechi Anya to the bench.
They were second in number, but first to many of the lost causes and loose balls in this friendly. One such stray piece of possession by the disappointing Danes gifted Scotland the opening, and winning goal.
Daniel Agger, the former Liverpool attempted to shield a ball back to kasper Schmeichel, but the ball held up on the wet Hampden turf and Matt Ritchie nipped in and slotted behind the goalkeeper to gift Scotland the lead in the seventh minute.
The Bournemouth player is a creator very much in the Kris Commons mould and received Scotland’s goal of the year for his strike against Poland. This wasn’t in the same class, it didn’t need to be, but like its predecessor it gave the home side the lead at a two-thirds-empty Hampden which suddenly became a third full.
Gordon Strachan’s men were given another great opportunity by the visitors’ lax play when Nicolai Jorgensen - the Dane’s best performed - passed to Shaun Maloney but his through ball for Griffiths was overhit and Schmeichel gathered.
Steven Fletcher scored a wonder goal, in his mind, after flicking the ball over Simon Kjaer and smashing a half volley on the half-hour, but it swerved into the side netting without troubling Kasper Schemichel.
There was no faulting much of Scotland’s play with only Steven Whittaker’s breakdowns in play detracting from a solid performance, albeit against a Danish side which had been very poor for the opening half hour. They didn’t improve much, even in the second half and Scotland debutants John McGinn and Kieran Tierney made winning starts and put in excellent performances.
The Celtic full-back, making history as Scotland’s youngest debutant in more than half a century was positionally perfect and McGinn made the step up from Alloa and Dumbarton to international football with a typically busy performance in the middle beside Scott Brown.
The Danes stepped up briefly, on the 31st minute a combination of Dalsgaard and Jorgensen troubled Gordon and then the latter again had a low strike pushed out by the Scotland goalkeeper. But they faded as quickly as they raised their tempo. Then, briefly before the break, Scotland lifted theirs.
Whittaker’s low cross was headed well by Steven Fletcher in a full fronted dive. Schmeichel was down well at his post to claw it out. Another good delivery from the right caused difficulty but the ball wouldn’t fall for Scotland who were chasing down every lost cause against the haphazard Scandinavians.
Typically of a modern-day friendly, the changes were made at half-time and one replacement, Danish goalkeeper Jonas Lossl was tested by Shaun Maloney’s dipping strike after cutting in off the left wing.
Substitutions were sprinkled throughout the second period, and the lowly Hampden crowd quietened as the game drew towards a weary conclusion and were only animated to praise a wonderfil double save by Gordon, defying Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, then sub Martin Braithwaite’s point blank header.
Another of the subs, Liam Bridcutt was fortunate to stay on for a two-footed lunge on Erik Sviatchenko on 80 minutes.
Scotland: Gordon, Whittaker, Hanley, Greer, Tierney (Mulgrew 46), Brown, McGinn, Ritchie (Burke 86), Maloney (Bridcutt), Griffiths (Martin 60), S.Fletcher (Anya 46). Unused: Bain, Caddis, Forrest, Cooper, Murphy.
Denmark: Schmeichel (Lossl 46), Kjaer, Agger (Sviatchenko 65), Durmisi, Christensen, Eriksen (Schone 80), Dalsgaard, Delaney, Jorgensen, Poulsen (Braithwaite 46), Hojberg. Subs: Lindegaard, Wass, Kvist, Thomsen, Vestergaard, Okore, Knudsen, Vibe.