SCOTLAND 0 HOLLAND 1
Scotland began life after Gordon Strachan with a 1-0 friendly defeat by Holland at Pittodrie after Memphis Depay netted a controversial winner.
Depay looked offside as he netted from close range following a counter-attack five minutes before the interval.
An experimental Scotland side were otherwise comfortable at the back and had plenty of encouraging moments going forward but lacked firepower.
The match was overshadowed by Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan declaring hours before kick-off that caretaker manager Malky Mackay was definitely not a contender to succeed Strachan on a long-term basis.
Photo: PA Wire
But there were several others staking their claim for ongoing involvement as the SFA performance director handed starting debuts to Ryan Jack, Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor and a second cap for Kenny McLean, while Jason Cummings earned an international introduction as a late substitute.
There were also positional changes with left-back Kieran Tierney – who captained his country for the first time at the age of 20 – impressing in central defence after playing the final few games of Strachan’s reign at right-back.
Rangers midfielder Jack filled that role, where he played early in his Aberdeen career, while winger Matt Phillips started up front with McGregor not far behind. Mackay’s plans had been affected by minor injury concerns which deprived him of Celtic trio Leigh Griffiths, Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong.
Jack’s early touches were booed by some of the 17,833 crowd following his summer move to Ibrox and there was a false start to the game when play was stopped twice to change balls.
Scotland had the first sights of goal as Phillips twice threatened to get in behind the Dutch defence. Both he and James Forrest had shots blocked the first time and Jasper Cillessen got down to save from the West Brom winger after initially retreating when Tierney’s long ball caught out the visitors.
Christie was looking lively and he got on the ball inside the box before sending a dangerous cross flashing across the goalmouth. Seconds later Cillessen did well to push away Tierney’s swerving effort from more than 25 yards.
Scotland were looking compact and comfortable when their opponents had possession but they shot themselves in the foot.
Phillips overhit a pass to Forrest to take the momentum out of a promising attack and McGregor soon sold Jack short with a simple ball outside. Holland quickly worked their way from the left-back position to the right wing and Ryan Babbel crossed for Depay to knock home from what looked like an offside position inside the six-yard box.
McGregor played Phillips in early in the second half but the makeshift striker let it run when he should have taken a touch, and Cillessen gathered.
Scotland continued to get encouragement going forward. John McGinn’s 25-yard strike swerved outside the post after a good passing move, Cillessen then lost possession following a passback from Virgil van Dijk but Christie delayed a shot.
Tierney and Charlie Mulgrew put in blocks as the visitors enjoyed a good spell of possession, but Cillessen was back in action to save McGregor’s strike after an incisive pass from McGinn.
Ryan Fraser almost scored seconds after coming on as a 71st-minute sub when he took a brilliant first touch from Tierney’s diagonal ball and cut inside before shooting inches wide.
Cummings also had an opportunity to net following his 86th-minute introduction but his weak effort was saved after being set up by Phillips, who made a mess of a free header in the last minute.