Fletcher shines as Scotland display fight

Denmark 1 Scotland 0

The widely predicted deflowering of Scotland did not materialise in last night's Copenhagen friendly. Indeed, after conceding 10 goals to the Netherlands and Wales in their previous two away fixtures, to restrict a Euro 2004-bound Denmark team to Ebbe Sand's second-half goal had the feeling of a moral victory.

"Danish Dynamite" proclaimed the flags, but it certainly had a slow fuse on this occasion. The contest had just passed the hour mark when Sand, one of nine substitutes who appeared, headed in. Even with a Mackay and a Fletcher in their ranks, Scotland could not get out of jail, although to their credit they were still pressing in stoppage time.

The battling nature of Scotland's display against a nation listed 47 places higher in Fifa's world rankings will alleviate the pressure on their manager, Berti Vogts. They did not claim their first goal against Denmark in five meetings since 1975. Yet nor did it ever look likely that the Danish capital would see the end of Vogts' Scotland career as it did Billy Bremner's after a notorious nightclub escapade that year.

Vogts said: "There were a lot of positives out there. All my players showed heart and emotion - and that's what Scottish football needs." They also showed a modicum of style, no one more than Darren Fletcher, who looked as technically accomplished as any Dane. Malky Mackay, 32, became Scotland's oldest debutant in 37 years and could not be faulted for commitment, while Paul Gallacher had easily his best game in the Scottish goal.

Scotland started positively and had opportunities to score in the opening five minutes. James McFadden slipped away from Martin Laursen, leaving the Milan man on his backside, only for Rene Henriksen to block his goal-bound drive. Mackay, with his first touch in international football, then headed narrowly over from a corner by Fletcher, who has tended to be used on the right by Vogts but showed why Sir Alex Ferguson believes his future lies in the engine room.

Scotland's cause was not helped when Mackay's club-mate Gary Holt departed on a stretcher in the 13th minute after being accidentally caught on the knee by the former Celtic midfielder Morten Wieghorst.

Peter Canero came on for his first cap and had his work cut out helping the left-back, Stephen Crainey, who was being given a torrid time by Jesper Gronkjaer. For all Denmark's vaunted wing play, however, the biggest danger to Scotland's goal during the first half came from a ball threaded through the centre by Thomas Helveg.

Jon Dahl Tomasson had the seemingly simple task of beating Gallacher, but rolled his shot into the side netting. Scotland also benefited from a mistake by the referee, who let Steve Pressley's 43rd-minute trip on Martin Jorgensen go unpunished by a penalty.

Denmark at last produced something tangible from the flanks in the 61st minute. Daniel Jensen tore past Crainey before crossing, and Sand stole ahead of Mackay to glance the ball in. Immediately, Gronjkaer's shot was tipped on to the underside of the bar by Gallacher.

But Scotland's spirit was still not spent. Four minutes after the goal, Kevin Kyle found McFadden. Not for the first time, the Everton attacker's execution failed to match his skilful approach work, the shot trundling straight to a relieved Sorensen.

DENMARK (4-3-2-1): Sorensen (Aston Villa); Helveg (Internazionale), Laursen (Milan), Henriksen (Panathinaikos), N Jensen (Borussia Dortmund); D Jensen (Real Murcia), C Jensen (Charlton), Wieghorst (Brondby); Gronkjaer (Chelsea), Jorgensen (Udinese); Tomasson (Milan). Substitutes: Sand (Schalke 04) for Tomasson, h-t; Perez (AZ 67 Alkmaar) for C Jensen, h-t; Rommedahl (PSV Eindhoven) for Jorgensen, 66; Kroldrup (Udinese) for Henriksen,67; Retov (Brondby) for Weighorst, 81; Rasmussen (Hansa Rostock) for Gronkjaer, 84.

SCOTLAND (4-1-3-2): Gallacher (Dundee United); G Caldwell (Hibernian), Pressley (Hearts), Mackay (Norwich), Crainey (Southampton); Dailly (West Ham); Cameron (Wolves), Fletcher (Manchester United), Holt (Norwich); Kyle (Sunderland), McFadden (Everton). Substitutes: Canero (Leciester) for Holt, 16; McCann (Southampton) for Cameron, h-t; Sennels (Brondby) for N Jensen, h-t.

Referee: M Ingvarsson (Sweden).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games