Football: No goal from Gullit but Dutch can feel satisfied: Shearer salvages pride for Scotland with a late strike

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The Independent Online
Netherlands. . .3

Scotland. . . . 1

HONOUR was satisfied here last night as the Netherlands, inspired until half-time by the return of Ruud Gullit, gained a victory to encourage their World Cup aspirations. Scotland, meanwhile, were not unduly disheartened to leave the Galgenwaard stadium having survived a penalty and reduced their arrears through Duncan Shearer late in an entertaining friendly.

The Dutch, beaten last time out by Ireland and down to their third-choice at both sweeper and captain, suffered another setback when Frank Rijkaard suffered a muscle injury during the warm-up and joined Dennis Bergkamp and Ronald Koeman on the bench.

It was clear from the moment the teams were announced that all eyes were on Gullit. After a tentative start to his first international match in more than a year, Captain Dreadlock delighted his admirers by setting up a spectacular goal after 18 minutes.

Gullit's aversion to playing wide on the right had been one of the reasons he fell out with the national coach, Dick Advocaat. Yet it was from that position that he cut inside, waltzed around Brian Irvine's outstretched leg and reached the byline before laying the ball back. Marc Overmars' shot was blocked by Stewart McKimmie, only for Brian Roy to volley the rebound high into Jim Leighton's net from 18 yards.

What the crowd wanted was a goal from Gullit. He spurned two opportunities in the opening half-hour alone, directing a drive wide and a free header over the top. The Scottish supporters, a splash of tartan in an ocean of orange, had only an ambitious overhead kick by Gary McAllister to cheer, the ball looping over the bar.

Gullit did not reappear after the interval, doubtless to ensure his participation against Hungary next Wednesday. But his replacement, Peter Van Vossen, ensured that Scotland enjoyed no respite.

The oompah band continued to belt out everything from 'California Here I Come' to 'John Brown's Body', yet some of the oomph had gone out of the Netherlands' play before they doubled the lead in the 62nd minute.

Wim Jonk, with a long pass of Koemanesque accuracy, picked out Rob Witschge. He in turn headed the ball inside for Van Vossen to slot it past Gunn from close range - his seventh goal in eight internationals.

Seven minutes later, Colin Hendry tripped Witschge but Jonk blasted the penalty against the bar. Within three minutes, the hapless Irvine steered Arthur Numan's cross past Gunn, although Scotland had the final word when Shearer headed Eoin Jess's centre home with nine minutes remaining.

NETHERLANDS (1-2-3-3-1): De Goey (Feyenoord); Jonk (Internazionale); Valckx (Sporting Lisbon), F De Boer (Ajax); Winter (Lazio), Wouters (PSV Eidnehoven, capt), Witschge (Feyenoord); Overmars (Ajax), R De Boer (Ajax), Roy (Foggia); Gullit (Milan). Substitutes: Van Vossen (Ajax) for Gullit, h/t; Numan (PSV) for R de Boer, h/t; Taument (Feyenoord) for Roy, 72.

SCOTLAND (4-1-3-2): Leighton (Hibernian); Clarke (Chelsea), Hendry (Blackburn), Irvine (Aberdeen), McKimmie (Aberdeen); McCall (Rangers); McKinlay (Dundee Utd), McAllister (Leeds, capt), Collins (Celtic); Durie (Rangers), McGinlay (Bolton). Substitutes: Shearer (Aberdeen) for McGinlay, 76; I Ferguson (Rangers) for Collins, 62; Jess (Aberdeen) for Durie, h/t; Gunn (Norwich) for Leighton; Nevin (Tranmere) for McKinlay, 88

Referee: J Ansuategui Roca (Spain).

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