England eased to a 3-1 victory at Hampden Park as Scotland failed to hit the form that has taken them to the brink of Euro 2024 qualification.
There was an air of anticipation as the rivals met in a friendly to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first meeting but Scotland were a shadow of the team that had impressed in their last five matches as England took control.
Phil Foden diverted Kyle Walker’s cross into the net with Jude Bellingham firing in a second before the break after Andrew Robertson’s error.
Harry Maguire’s own goal gave Scotland some belief in the second half but Harry Kane’s lovely finish from a sublime Bellingham assist wrapped up the win for Gareth Southgate’s side.
England’s dominance over Scotland continues
Scotland came into the match in peak form while England were looking to recover from their frustrating draw with Ukraine.
They last won this fixture in 1999, but hopes of another win looked faint from kick-off as they struggled to cope with their rivals’ dominance.
Angus Gunn rushed out to punch Kieran Trippier’s ball clear early on before a last ditch challenge from Ryan Porteous denied Kane the opener.
- It was about continuity for Steve Clarke as he stuck with the same Scotland team that beat Cyprus 3-0 in Euro 2024 qualifying.
- England boss Gareth Southgate made six changes.
- Lewis Dunk made his first competitive international start in place of Harry Maguire, lining up alongside Marc Guehi at centre-back.
- Kalvin Phillips got his first start of the season in Glasgow, with Kieran Trippier, Phil Foden, Aaron Ramsdale and Marcus Rashford also coming in.
Foden should have put England ahead in the 18th minute after a lovely pass from Marcus Rashford, but he sent his shot high over the bar before Walker fired past the far post soon after.
England finally took a deserved lead in the 32nd minute as Foden diverted Walker’s cross into the net.
That was the first goal Gunn had conceded from open play for Scotland but Robertson’s mistake made it two minutes later.
The captain decided to pass rather than clear, but his attempt only dribbled as far as the outstanding Bellingham, who made no mistake.
Southgate brought on Maguire at the break while Steve Clarke looked to Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie after John McGinn saw his shot diverted past the post and Billy Gilmour fired over the bar.
A nightmare from Maguire then gave Scotland hope as he turned Robertson’s cross into his own net. The Hampden crowd erupted and the players burst into life with McGinn heading just over soon after.
But their enthusiasm was short-lived. Bukayo Saka and Eberechi Eze came on as England regained control of the match and only strong saves from Gunn stopped them from going further ahead as he denied Eze and Bellingham.
Scotland: Gunn (6), Porteous (6), Hendry (4), Tierney (5), Hickey (5), McGregor (6), McTominay (5), Gilmour (5), Robertson (4), McGinn (5), Adams (4).
Subs: Christie (6), Dykes (6), Armstrong (6), Ferguson (6), Patterson (6), Jack (6).
England: Ramsdale (6), Walker (8), Trippier (7), Dunk (8), Guehi (7), Rice (7), Phillips (7), Bellingham (9), Rashford (8), Foden (8), Kane (8).
Subs: Maguire (4), Saka (7), Eze (6), Gallagher (6), Wilson (6).
Player of the match: Jude Bellingham
Bellingham impressed all night and he sent in a stunning ball for Kane to fire past Gunn to put the game out of reach in the 81st minute.
Callum Wilson and Conor Gallagher then replaced the duo as Southgate’s men wound down the clock to another victory against the Auld Enemy in Glasgow.
Southgate: We want to keep improving
England manager Gareth Southgate:
“Really pleased with the performance. We wanted to give a performance that was controlled with the ball as we knew that would be the best way to try and quieten the crowd.
“I thought we had fantastic composure, we showed good control of our possession deeper and we had a real threat with our runs in behind.
“The team worked incredibly hard without the ball because Scotland’s system can cause you a lot of problems.
“I was so happy with all of the starting XI and all of the subs, and in the end a really strong performance with an excellent result.
“We’re building all the time, we want to keep improving.”
Clarke: Sometimes you have to take your medicine
In his post-match assessment, Scotland manager Steve Clarke vowed they would learn from the defeat.
“I had some things I wanted to see tonight before we go to Spain next month for the competitive game. I’ll go away and I’ll analyse the game and I’ll see what I can do better.
There were some good things, there were some things we’re going to have to be better at and that’s out job.
“The most important thing in this camp was to get three points in Cyprus and we achieved that.
“We knew playing against England was going to be difficult, playing away against Spain is going to be difficult but if you want to learn as a team you have to play against good opposition so we have to go away, learn our lessons and try to be better in the future.
“In the competitive games we’ve got five wins and 15 points. I told the lads it’s been a successful camp, it would have been nice to end on a positive result against England but the objective of what we came in to do have been done.
“We didn’t want to lose to our auld enemy but on the night England were better. Sometimes you have to take your medicine in football, tonight we’ll take our medicine and try to improve.”
Scotland’s next game is a Euro 2024 Qualifier against Spain in Seville on October 12 – kick-off 7.45pm.
England’s next outing is against Australia in a friendly at Wembley on October 13. Their next Euro 2024 qualifier is versus Italy on Tuesday October 17.