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Scotland 3 Northern Ireland 0: match report

By John Ley 9:37PM GMT 09 Feb 2011

The Home Internationals were disbanded in 1984 and those who had hoped that the Carling Nations Cup can replace that famous tournament will have been disappointed with the second of two one-sided affairs that hardly showcased British and Irish football outside of England.

After the Republic of Ireland thrashed Wales 3-0 on Tuesday, Scotland embarrassed a depleted Northern Ireland side missing 10 players, with goals from Kenny Miller, James McArthur and Kris Commons in the Aviva Stadium.

The tournament continues in May and given that Scotland do not resume European Championship action until September manager Craig Levein will be grateful for forthcoming games against Wales and Ireland.

This was the best performance of Levein's eight-game reign, his side breaking quickly and tackling strongly. He said: "We played very well.

"The most pleasing aspect was the fact that we played as a team; everybody worked their socks off. The willingness to do the hard part of the game was the most pleasing factor."

Miller had spoken of the pride he felt at leading his team out for the first time at the age of 31. And the striker could not have wished for a better start.

From Charlie Adam's corner, Phil Bardsley flicked the ball on and when Scotland-based defenders Rory McArdle and Stephen Craigan failed to clear, the ball ricocheted into the path of Miller who responded, from close range, to claim his 13th goal for his country.

Soon afterwards, Scotland were denied a second only by the woodwork when, from another corner, Steven Caldwell was left free to power a header onto the top of the cross bar.

The Northern Irish included six players who ply their trade in Scotland and, at times, it was a case of familiarity breeding contempt as Scotland dictated possession for long periods.

Predictably, the second goal was not long in coming. In the 32nd minute, Alan Hutton's pass fell to McArthur and the Wigan midfielder – a late replacement for Scott Brown -- clipped a delivery which fooled Tuffey and dropped just under the cross bar.

Tuffey made amends when the Inverness goalkeeper punched a fine delivery from Bardsley around his left post. Another save denied James Morrison.

But within six minutes of the restart Scotland claimed a third goal. There was a suspicion of offside about the goal but the flag stayed down as Commons chased Steven Naismith's pass before dummying Tuffey and threading the ball through the goalkeeper's legs.

Match details

Northern Ireland (4-4-2): Tuffey (Inverness); McArdle (Aberdeen), Craigan (Motherwell), McAuley (Ipswich), Baird (Fulham); Evans (Hull), Davis (Rangers), McCann (Peterborough United), McGinn (Celtic); Patterson (Plymouth), McCourt (Celtic).
Subs: Healy (Rangers) for McCann, h-t; Hodson (Watford) for McArdle, h-t; Norwood (Manchester U) for Davis, 58; Thompson (Watford) for Craigan, 66; Boyce (W Bremen) for McGinn, 72.
Subs not used: Blayney (Linfield, g).
Booked: Healy.
Scotland (4-5-1): McGregor (Rangers); Hutton (Tottenham), S Caldwell (Wigan), Berra (Wolves), Bardsley (Sunderland); Morrison (WBA), McArthur (Wigan), Adam (Blackpool), Commons (Celtic), Naismith (Rangers); Miller (Bursaspor).
Subs: M Wilson (Celtic) for Bardsley, 57; Bannan (A Villa) for Adam, 57; Snodgrass (Leeds) for Naismith, 57; Conway (Dundee U) for Commons, 72; Maguire (Aberdeen) for Morrison, 79; D Wilson (Liverpool) for Miller, 90.
Subs not used: Bell (Kilmarnock, g), Hanley (Blackburn), G Caldwell (Wigan).
Goals: Miller 19, McArthur 32, Commons 51.
Referee: T Connolly (R of Ireland).

Taken from

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