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?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot