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Sbragia's Scotland enjoy first win in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland 1

Kennedy 8'

Scotland 2

Christie 33', Fraser 61'
  • Saturday, 05 September 2015
  • Mourneview Park
  • Under 21´s
  • Euro U21 Qualifiers

Gregor Kerr | YFS South East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

Ricky Sbragia took charge of his first game in charge of the young Scots at Mourneview Park, as Northern Ireland hosted the first of the European Championship Under 21 qualifying campaign’s matches. Recent Hibernian signing, John McGinn, wore the captain’s armband, however he could only watch as Northern Ireland’s Seamus McCartan headed wide the first opportunity, only a matter of seconds into the contest. One man in great form, Ryan Fraser, was nominated for the Championship Player of the Month award, and it was easy to see why, as he let fly from a speculative distance in the sixth minute, although Kilmarnock's Connor Brennan in the opposition goal held strong.

The home side took advantage of the hectic start only two minutes later, an inviting ball into the box from left back Michael Duffy was tucked home by Mikhail Kennedy, not the start that Sbragia would have been hoping for. His players did not seem to have their confidence knocked off, as Fraser again teased the defence straight from kick off, and played it to Callum McFadzean, his deep cross was picked up on by Ryan Gauld, who was crowded out and failed to get his shot away. McGinn also had a great chance on 20 minutes, as he eluded the Northern Ireland defence, and let fly from 25 yards out, again, Brennan was there to deny him.

The unrelenting Scottish pressure proved to be too much on 33 minutes. Hibernian striker Jason Cummings picked up the ball from the halfway line, and flicked a pass over the top of the back four. Ryan Christie, recently signed by Celtic, proved too quick and decisive and fired a shot into the near post, levelling the scoreline in the process. Cummings nearly completed a first-half comeback on 44 minutes, Ryan Fraser again provided the cross, however last season’s Scottish Championship top scorer was unable to convert it into the back of the net.

  • Half Time:
  • Northern Ireland
  • 1-1
  • Scotland

Brennan started the second half in similar fashion to how he played in the first, keeping his side in the game with a fingertip save from Gauld’s testing free kick in the 51st minute. His teammate Dale Gorman was not on the pitch long enough to help his team out though, as he picked up a second booking in the 56th minute. This simply provided Sbragia’s side with more ammunition, as Gauld slipped Fraser inside the Northern Irish backline on 61 minutes. The man of the moment kept his cool and slotted his right-footed shot underneath Brennan, giving Scotland the lead.

Cummings’ performance was deserving of a goal, and he nearly rewarded himself with one in the 73rd minute, through on goal, Brennan was able to spoil his hopes, as he altered his body enough to prevent Scotland from taking a two goal lead. Substitute Billy King nearly made up for that miss, in the 89th minute he struck towards goal, although Brennan was once again there to prevent Ricky Sbragia from enjoying a two goal victory on his first match in charge.

  • Full Time:
  • Northern Ireland
  • 1-2
  • Scotland


Northern Ireland
Donnelly (c)
McGinn (c)
Star Player
Northern Ireland
Connor Brennan - The keeper kept his side in the game with a collection of stunning saves.
Ryan Fraser - The on-loan Ipswich winger gave the Northern Ireland defence a nightmare all game.
Magic Moment
Northern Ireland
Mikhail Kennedy's goal was courtesy of an excellent low cross from left back Michael Duffy
Ryan Gauld's defence splitting pass for his side's second goal was a great display of timing and vision.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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