Lambert hero in England win

Rickie Lambert
Rickie Lambert
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Rickie Lambert wrote another chapter in to his incredible rags to riches story as he scored the winning goal for England on his debut in the 3-2 win against Scotland.

Thirteen years ago, Lambert was working as a beetroot factory worker after being released by Blackpool, but last night he produced something that would not have looked out of place in a Roy of the Rovers comic.

Substitute Lambert headed home England’s winner with his first touch after being on the pitch for less than three minutes.

Scotland had gone ahead twice earlier in the match through James Morrison and Kenny Miller, but their goals were cancelled out by Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck

The world’s oldest international match was an annual staple throughout Royj of the Rovers halcyon days and a first meeting between the countries in 14 years was a worthy addition on the scroll of 111 fixtures.

Played in a superb atmosphere, and with a passion and intensity seldom seem even in competitive matches at this level these days,

It was thrilling stuff, in which even debate over Wayne Rooney’s fitness was easily cast aside.

And even Scotland would acknowledge there could be no more fitting match-winner.

Lambert has had to scrap every step of the way up the footballing ladder.

He spent his early years at Macclesfield, Stockport and Rochdale, before moving south to Bristol Rovers, where he got his big transfer to Southampton.

And Lambert had rode the wave, up through the divisions, into the Premier League and last night on to the end of Leighton Baines’ corner.

Having had victory on their last Wembley visit 14 years ago tarnished somewhat by overall defeat in a Euro 2000 play-off, Scotland must have sensed a real celebration when Morrison put them ahead though Joe Hart should have kept it out.

Tom Cleverley’s first-time pass that sent Walcott clear of the Scotland defence was perfect. Often criticised himself for poor finishing, the Arsenal man, streaked into the box, steadied himself, cut inside Steven Whittaker and applied a cool finish.

In the second Miller completely deceived Gary Cahill on the edge of the box before driving a shot into the bottom corner, then Welbeck rose highest in a crowded penalty area to nod home Steven Gerrard’s free-kick.

Robert Snodgrass, then Grant Hanley, had to be pulled away from Walcott as temperatures began to boil over, them Lampard chopped down Maloney to stop the Wigan man advancing into dangerous territory.

It was the kind of rough competitiveness rarely seen in friendly matches these days and Rooney must have been sorry to depart midway through the second period as Lambert was handed his debut.

For someone with his background, it was a dream to be on the pitch.

That he should score with his first touch as he powered Baines’ corner into the net just made the moment even more magical.