CELTIC skipper Scott Brown enjoyed a victory as he celebrated his 50th Scotland cap against Denmark at Hampden tonight.
The Hoops powerhouse put in his usual industrious 90 minutes as he and his Parkhead team-mates Craig Gordon, Keiran Tierney, Charlie Mulgrew and Leigh Griffiths overcame Erik Sviatchenko and Co on a rain-lashed evening in Glasgow.
Fittingly, Brown was involved in the only goal of the game in the eighth minute, but it must go down as a howler from visiting skipper Daniel Agger.
The former Liverpool defender inexplicably allowed a pass from the midfielder to drift to Matt Ritchie while he waited for Kasper Schmeichal to come out of his area to deal with the danger. Ritchie, with the help of a dummy run from Griffiths, was allowed to sneak in and coolly scoop the ball over the exposed keeper for the winner.
All eyes on were 18-year-old left-back Tierney at the start as he made his debut for his nation. The teenager, who has become a first team fixture at the SPFL champions ever since taking over from Emilio Izaguirre this season, was extremely comfortable.
Gordon Strachan kept him in at half-time to replace him with his more experienced Hoops team-mate Mulgrew, but it was certainly no reflection on the teenager who can be more than satisfied with his international baptism.
It was a quiet evening for Griffiths who is still looking for his first goal at this level. To be fair to Celtic’s 35-goal hitman, he received very little service throughout the 60 minutes he was on the pitch before being replaced by Chris Martin.
His best opportunity arrived in the 23rd minute when he was released by ex-Hoops’ favourite Shaun Maloney, but Schmeichal was swiftly off his line to smother the ball and repel the danger.
Sviatchenko came on for Agger in the 64th minute and was fortunate not to be seriously injured after a reckless challenge from Scots substitute Liam Bridcott who was booked and could have seen red.
Goalkeeper Gordon looked safe and composed throughout and was the hero of the night when he made a remarkable double save in the 73rd minute.
Spurs’ Christian Eriksen tested him with a vicious low drive which the shotstopper pushed away with a spectacular dive at his right hand post.
The ball spun into the air where it was met by Martin Braithwaite smack in front of goal. He must have thought he was about to score as he diverted a header towards the net, but Gordon reacted with cat-like reflexes to get back to his feet and push the ball to safety.
All in all, it was a worthwhile exercise for the Celts in Strachan’s squad and, hopefully, they’ll be tuned up for the lunchtime clash with Hearts at Parkhead on Saturday.