Football: Scotland humble might of Germany

Germany 0 Scotland 1
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The Independent Online
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS 0, the West Ham of world football 1. Scotland threw the ill-judged and badly-timed comments of the minister for sport, Tony Banks, back in his face when Don Hutchison's second-half strike brought them a rare victory over Germany in last night's friendly international.

Teutonic efficiency is clearly not what it was. Not only were Germany deservedly beaten by a Scotland side lacking at least half a dozen regulars, but they had to suffer the embarrassment of seeing the floodlights fail during the half-time break.

After a 20-minute delay, Scotland emerged a more positive force than in a cat-and- mouse first half. Hutchison's goal, marking the Tyneside- born striker's first starting appearance for the land of his father, stemmed from one of several scoring opportunities.

A bicycle kick by Ulf Kirsten, one of many second-half substitutes, shook the Scotland crossbar in the closing minutes. Otherwise Craig Brown's team survived with few alarms to record their first win on German soil since beating West Germany, who then held the World Cup, in Stuttgart 42 years ago.

Resplendent in salmon pink - a garish new strip that ought to be sponsored by John West - Scotland's patched-up side belied predictions that they viewed the occasion as a glorified practice match. The front players set the tone, harrying the German markers into mistakes, and the bullish pre- match mood among the home supporters swiftly turned to restiveness.

Lothar Matthaus, who awoke yesterday to find his private life splashed over the front pages of the German tabloids, did his best to bring a modicum of creativity to his team's attacks. Given a free role, the veteran libero materialised on the right flank to supply the cross which Oliver Neuville volleyed into the sidenetting to belatedly stir the crowd midway through the first half.

Until that point, Neil Sullivan had been well protected, with only a volley by Oliver Bierhoff to catch under the crossbar following a free kick by Matthaus. And when the latter initiated a move which swept Germany from deep in their own half to the edge of Scotland's penalty area, Paul Lambert typified the visitors' "they shall not pass" attitude by throwing himself in front of Thomas Strunz's drive.

Scotland had also given one individual the licence to roam, Allan Johnston frequently switching wings or drifting inside in an attempt to disrupt the German system. The Sunderland man is not the fastest of forwards, but he does have quick feet and twice in the early stages he mocked Strunz's attempts to dispossess him. Frustratingly for the Scottish strikers, the standard of Johnston's delivery did not match his approach work.

Germany regularly induced groans from the stands with misplaced passes and were forced to wait until the 38th minute before testing Sullivan. The keeper then went down low to block a shot by Neuville, though even then the Scots' response was defiant. Within a minute they created a half- chance of their own, but Scot Gemill sliced the ball wide from close range after Billy Dodds had laid David Weir's pass into his path.

The Swiss referee, who was in charge for Manchester United's epic victory over Juventus a week earlier, confirmed the positive impression he created in Turin by waving aside German appeals for a penalty on the stroke of half-time. Neuville, under challenge from Callum Davidson, tumbled theatrically and might have been cautioned in a competitive fixture.

After the extended half-time interval, during which the spectators appeared to be more entertained by the flickering lamps than they had been by the football, Scotland continued to match their hosts in every department. Jens Lehmann, the German keeper, had to race from his line to clear from the onrushing Johnston, and then threw himself to his left to claw away Hutchison's goalbound shot from 20 yards after a short free kick by Ian Durrant.

Hutchison was not to be denied for much longer, however. In the 66th minute, after Lambert's through-pass picked out Davidson's incursion into the German box, the Everton midfielder-turned-striker took the full back's cut-back in his stride before carefully slotting the ball between Lehmann and his near post from 16 yards.

Germany (1-2-4-3): Lehmann (Borussia Dortmund); Matthaus (Bayern Munich); Nowotny (Bayer Leverkusen), Worns (Paris St-Germain); Strunz (Bayern Munich), Hamann (Newcastle), Jeremies (Bayern Munich), Heinrich (Fiorentina); Neuville (Hansa Rostock), Bierhoff (Milan), Heldt (TSV 1860 Munich). Substitutes: Ramelow (Bayer Leverkusen) for Jeremies, ht; Kirsten (Bayer Leverkusen) for Bierhoff, 60; Ballack (Kaiserslautern) for Hamann, 60. Jancker (Bayern Munich) for Strunz 88.

Scotland (4-4-2): Sullivan (Wimbledon); Weir (Everton), Hendry (Rangers), Boyd (Celtic), Davidson (Blackburn); Durrant (Kilmarnock), Lambert (Celtic), Gemmill (Everton), Johnston (Sunderland); Hutchison (Everton), Dodds (Dundee Utd). Substitutes: Jess (Aberdeen) for Gemmill, 60; Ritchie (Heart Of Midlothian) for Hendry,66; Winters (Aberdeen) for Durrant, 73; Whyte (Aberdeen) for Davidson, 79; Cameron (Heart Of Midlothian) for Lambert, 85; O'Neill (Wolfsburg) for Johnston (88).

Referee: U Meier (Switzerland).