A late header by substitute Christophe Berra gave Scotland a narrow but deserved 1-0 win over Northern Ireland in their Vauxhall International Challenge match at Hampden Park.
Visiting keeper Michael McGovern made several saves in the first half to keep an enterprising home side at bay, most notably from Steven Fletcher and Ikechi Anya.
The Scots also had the best of a second half which was punctuated with substitutions but it looked like ending in a stalemate until the 85th minute when the Ipswich defender, these days down the pecking order but who had replaced Russell Martin, headed in a corner from debutant Matt Ritchie. It was a decent performance from the Scots as they turn their attention to their 2016 Euro qualifier against Gibraltar at the national stadium on Sunday although Gordon Strachan will be looking for his side to be more incisive in front of goal.
Michael O’Neill’s team were rather insipid but they will be glad of the work-out ahead of their Group F qualifier at home to Finland on Sunday.
Strachan, as promised, utilised his squad with Ritchie handed his debut. The Bournemouth right winger was drafted into the squad for the first time this week and was asked to support main striker Fletcher with Anya on the other flank. Owls striker Stevie May was un unused substitute.