Billy Gilmour’s sparkling cameo briefly lit up a routine win over 10-man Luxembourg in Scotland’s final warm-up game for Euro 2020.
The 19-year-old midfielder, a half-time substitute, impressed with composure and skill in his second cap before a clattering from Olivier Thill forced him off for the final 15 minutes.
Che Adams slotted Scotland’s early opener before Lyndon Dykes was pulled back by Vahid Selimovic on the edge of the box to earn the Luxembourg defender a 34th-minute dismissal.
Rangers right-back Nathan Patterson, 19, made his Scotland debut off the bench in the final half hour as Steve Clarke’s side failed to turn their superiority into further goals.
Scotland open their first major tournament since 1998 against the Czech Republic at Hampden on 14 June.
As expected, Clarke shuffled his pack with seven changes from Thursday’s 2-2 draw with the Netherlands.
Five of the six players who missed that game – a precautionary measure after John Fleck’s positive Covid-19 test – were in from the start, including David Marshall in goal and Adams winning his fourth cap up front.
A scattering of Scotland fans were among the limited attendance at Luxembourg’s national stadium and were treated to a lively opening before the red card rendered the friendly match a training exercise.
The saving grace was Gilmour. Twice he waltzed past a couple of defenders to get shots on target. The international newcomer constantly demanded the ball and was the focal point of Scotland’s play before a shocking high challenge from Thill cut short his involvement.
The gulf between the teams in the world rankings – Scotland are 52 places higher than Luxembourg in 96th – was not initially mirrored on the pitch.
The hosts, with Gerson Rodrigues impressive down the right, almost took an early lead when a corner fell to Selimovic and Marshall had to dive to his left to parry.
Scotland’s forward players began to prey on Luxembourg’s unconvincing defence and Adams and Dykes linked well. Both will be disappointed not to have added to Adams’ opener amid a glut of chances.
Dykes’ heavy touch prevented him knocking the ball home when goalkeeper Anthony Moris passed straight to him inside the box. The striker showed his aerial threat moments later, glancing Andrew Robertson’s whipped delivery on to the post.
Adams got his connection all wrong from another left-wing cross, only to quickly make amends with a slotted finish under Moris to open the scoring after a fine burst into the box and lay-off from Dykes.
Another combination from Scotland’s front two prompted the game’s turning point on 34 minutes. Adams released Dykes to bear down on goal, with Selimovic’s foul leaving the referee with no choice but to show red.
It was a dismissal Clarke and his players could have done without as they fine-tune for the finals.
Scotland, with fresh impetus provided by Gilmour, laid siege to the Luxembourg goal after the break only to be let down by their finishing.
John McGinn – in an unusually quiet performance – had a shot saved saved and Gilmour pounced on the scraps, taking out two men with one dazzling move to hammer in a shot that was parried away by Moris.
Adams thought he had doubled his tally when he headed powerfully into the net, only to be penalised for a push.
Dykes was kicking himself after nodding just past the far post and McTominay was next to send a header creeping wide as Scotland head to the Euros with a narrow win.
Man of the match – Che Adams
What did we learn?
Gilmour didn’t have long on the pitch, but it was enough to prove he can be thrown in to competitive action at the Euros.
His removal looked to be more a precaution and, providing he is free of injury, there is now a case for the cool-headed Chelsea player to be handed a start.
Fellow teenager Patterson also did his prospects no harm, marauding down the right and delivering crosses his team-mates should have made more of.
Luxembourg’s red card diluted the effectiveness of this friendly, but it provided more game-time for the Scotland players who needed it and a win and clean sheet completes a positive couple of warm-ups.
- Scotland have lost only two of their last 16 (W8 D6) and are unbeaten in their last five (W2 D3).
- They have yet to lose in five matches against Luxembourg (W4 D1)
- Despite playing just over an hour, Andy Robertson created five chances – the most of any player.
- Vahid Selimovic’s red card was the sixth Luxembourg have had in their last 11 matches, with the defender accounting for two of those.
- Che Adams has either scored (twice) or assisted (once) in each of his three starts for Scotland, netting in successive appearances.
The real action starts on 14 June for Scotland as they end a 23-year absence from major tournaments with a Euro 2020 Group D opener against the Czechs at Hampden (14:00 BST).
- 5SelimovicBooked at 34mins
- 9SinaniSubstituted forThillat 71′minutesBooked at 72mins
- 19SkenderovicSubstituted forAlves Da Motaat 84′minutes
- 21ThillSubstituted forMartins da Graçaat 84′minutes
- 14DevilleSubstituted forBohnertat 64′minutes
- 10RodriguesBooked at 29mins
- 11Alves Da Mota
- 22Martins da Graça
- 15GallagherSubstituted forMcKennaat 45′minutes
- 2O’DonnellSubstituted forPattersonat 64′minutes
- 8McGregorSubstituted forGilmourat 45′minutesSubstituted forForrestat 76′minutes
- 3RobertsonSubstituted forFraserat 64′minutes
- 9DykesSubstituted forNisbetat 82′minutes
- Eldorjan Hamiti
Match ends, Luxembourg 0, Scotland 1.
Second Half ends, Luxembourg 0, Scotland 1.
Foul by John McGinn (Scotland).
Mica Pinto (Luxembourg) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Scott McTominay (Scotland).
Daniel Alves Da Mota (Luxembourg) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Che Adams (Scotland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Scott McKenna following a corner.
Attempt missed. Scott McKenna (Scotland) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ryan Fraser with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Mica Pinto.
Foul by James Forrest (Scotland).
Florian Bohnert (Luxembourg) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Gerson Rodrigues (Luxembourg) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Alves Da Mota.
Substitution, Luxembourg. Marvin Martins da Graça replaces Sébastien Thill.
Substitution, Luxembourg. Daniel Alves Da Mota replaces Aldin Skenderovic.
Attempt missed. Scott McTominay (Scotland) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ryan Fraser with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Mica Pinto.
Substitution, Scotland. Kevin Nisbet replaces Lyndon Dykes.
Offside, Luxembourg. Laurent Jans tries a through ball, but Gerson Rodrigues is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Lyndon Dykes (Scotland) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ryan Fraser with a cross.
Attempt saved. Lyndon Dykes (Scotland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Che Adams.