Scotland 1-0 Republic of Ireland: Christie Murray's late goal sends Scotland to the Euros on a high

Anna Signeul's final home game in charge ends with a 1-0 win for Scotland over the Republic of Ireland. Gemma Fay also reached the historic landmark of 200 caps.

Scotland 1-0 Republic of Ireland: Christie Murray's late goal sends Scotland to the Euros on a high
Christie Murray scored a late winner for Scotland. Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images
Scotland
1 0
Republic of Ireland
Scotland: Fay (c); Frankie Brown (McLauchlan, min. HT), Dieke (Joelle Murray, min. HT), Barsley, Lauder (Arthur, min. 77); Leanne Ross (Howard, min. 60), Crichton, Cuthbert, Weir, Fiona Brown (Clelland, min. 60); Jane Ross (Christie Murray, min. 80)
Republic of Ireland: Hourihan; Scott, Quinn (c), Caldwell, Perry; Duggan; O’Gorman, O’Sullivan (Payne, min. 90), Connolly (Kiernan, min. 87), Campbell; McCabe
SCORE: 1-0, min. 86, Christie Murray.
INCIDENTS: International Friendly between Scotland and Republic of Ireland. The match was played at Stark's Park. 1,960 spectators.

A late header from Christie Murray meant that Scotland will travel to the Euros off the back of a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.

It looked like it would be a frustrating ninety minutes for Scotland until Erin Cuthbert's cross picked out Christie Murray and her header found the bottom corner. 

Not only was this Scotland's last game until their opening Euro 2017 match against England on the 19th July, but it was Anna Signeul's final match in charge on Scottish soil before she leaves to become Finland's Head Coach after the Euros.

Gemma Fay Makes History

It was fitting that on the landmark occasion for Signeul, that her long-time captain and stalwart Gemma Fay won her 200th cap – the first time a British player has done that.

Having made her debut back in 1996, she has become a regular between the sticks for Scotland. Both Signeul and Fay have had an extraordinary impact on the game in Scotland, and regardless of what happens in the Netherlands, women's football will always be grateful to their impact.

Positives for Scotland

Signeul will have been delighted how quickly Vaila Barsley has progressed to become a vital player for Scotland. Having made her debut in Scotland's 5-0 defeat to Belgium in April, she now looks like someone who has been playing for Scotland for years, rather than months.

Her presence and leadership skills were shown off several times and without her, Scotland may have lost the friendly. Signeul will also be pleased by Fiona Brown's attacking play down the left-wing, and Erin Cuthbert being seemingly undaunted by the prospect of having to step into Kim Little's boots.

There will be a few concerns over how Ireland got in behind Scotland's full-backs and how Scotland struggled to clear some set-pieces, but compared to how they have been in previous games, there has been a significant improvement. Signeul will also be hoping that Hayley Lauder has not picked up a serious injury after she had to come off in the second half.

However, it is hard to read too much into the performance in terms of attacking. Ireland was set up in a 4-1-4-1 formation, and asked Scotland to break them down and played on the counter. It is unlikely that England or Spain will ask Scotland to do that at the Euros. However, depending on both side's opening results, the game against Portugal could follow a similar pattern.

Even start to the hame

Gemma Fay had to be alert early on to punch clear Aine O’Gorman's corner, but soon Scotland had their first shot on target when Hayley Lauder tested Marie Hourihan from the edge of the box.

The mightily impressive Cuthbert and Fiona Brown linked up nicely to create chances for the two Ross', with  Leanne Ross seeing her shot blocked and then Jane Ross heading just wide.

But Ireland could have taken the lead through a set-piece. Scotland failed to fully clear a free-kick, and Arsenal's Katie McCabe picked out Diane Caldwell whose header was blocked by Barsley.

Fiona Brown and Cuthbert both go close

The situation was reversed soon after Fiona Brown's shot just went over. Leanne Ross' corner picked out Barsley at the far post, but her header was cleared off the lined by Caldwell.

Late on in the first half, Scotland nearly found the breakthrough. Fiona Brown's cross picked out Cuthbert at the far post, and her header looked like it was going in, only for Hourihan to make a stunning save.

Some poor defending from Scotland nearly presented Ireland with a goal ten minutes into the second half. Megan Connolly, who plays for Florida State University, was picked out in acres of space just outside of the Scottish box, and she curled the ball just wide of the far post.

But Scotland soon found their shooting boots again. A long pass from Hayley Lauder nearly picked out Jane Ross in the box before Fiona Brown saw her shot deflected behind. From the resulting corner, Jane Ross headed wide.

Substitute Lana Clelland impresses

Ireland was using Megan Campbell's long-throws to cause problems for Scotland, and it nearly led to a goal when Joelle Murray headed just wide of her own post.

Substitute Lana Clelland staked her claim for a starting role against England. She chased down Louise Quinn, robbing her of possession in the Irish box before setting up Cuthbert, but her shot was deflected behind by a defender.

Christie Murray scores the winner

Jane Ross and Leanne Crichton both came close soon after, but with the clock approaching the 90-minute mark, it looked like the game would end goalless.

That was until Cuthbert's cross picked out the smallest player on the pitch Christie Murray, and the Doncaster Belles Rovers' forward headed the ball past the despairing Hourihan to send the 1,960 fans at Stark's Park into delirium.

In the 90th minute, Peamount United’s 17-year old Heather Payne replaced Connolly to make her senior international debut.

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