Rhodes leads Scotland to win over Australia with debut goal


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The Independent Online

Jordan Rhodes scored his first international goal to help Scotland beat Australia 3-1 at Easter Road last night.

A Jason Davidson own goal as well as Ross McCormack's strike ensured Craig Levein's side a morale-boosting win ahead of next month's World Cup qualifying double-header against Serbia and Macedonia.

Scotland started brightly with Rhodes missing two decent chances and that looked costly when Australia's Marco Bresciano sent a superb volley into the back of the net from 25 yards.

Scotland were dealt a further blow when keeper Allan McGregor was forced off after just 22 minutes with what appeared to be a back strain, allowing Blackpool's Matt Gilks to make his international debut. But the home side were back on level terms when Rhodes threw himself in front of a cross from Danny Fox and sent a diving header into the top corner.

Australia dominated much of the play but Scotland went ahead with Fox again the provider. The Southampton man's cross into the box was inadvertently nodded into the back of his own net by substitute Davidson, the debutant having been on the park for just six minutes. And McCormack sealed the win by twisting and turning on the edge of the box before deceiving the goalkeeper with a low drive.

None of the other home nations were able to win their games. Wales' preparations for their World Cup qualification campaign ended with a 2-0 defeat against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Llanelli. But Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland both enjoyed promising draws. Giovanni Trapattoni's side performed admirably to hold Serbia 0-0 while Northern Ireland drew 3-3 with Finland.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Netherlands coach, Louis van Gaal, started his second spell in charge with a 4-2 defeat by Belgium while two Alexandre Pato goals saw Brazil beat Sweden 3-0.