A Squad Wales 4 Scotland 0
Updated Wednesday, 18th February 2004
Another night when watching Scotland was not the most relaxing thing to do of an evening.
The Scots, who had five survivors from the team thrashed by Holland in the Euro 2004 play-off in November, recalled Walsall's central defender Paul Ritchie for his first cap for four years. But just 40 seconds into his return, he gifted Wales the lead when he gave away possession to Gary Speed who released Earnshaw and he took full advantage to slot the ball past Douglas. Shortly afterwards, Naysmith gave the ball away but Speed's final shot was well wide. Earnshaw could have had a hat-trick in the first 15 minutes as he saw one 20-yard shot deflected a foot wide and then sent a header inches over the crossbar.
Wales bossed the midfield and always looked dangerous going forward against a sloppy Scotland defence. The chances for Wales outnumbered those for the visitors. John Oster just failed to connect with a Danny Gabbidon cross in front of goal before a Simon Davies shot was blocked by Naysmith. Ryan Giggs was narrowly wide with a header before Wales scored a second ten minutes from half-time. Ritchie, who looked out of his depth, missed a Giggs cross and an Earnshaw header beat Douglas courtesy of a deflection off Naysmith. Darren Fletcher had a couple of efforts on target for Scotland in the first half but Mark Crossley saved both comfortably. Colin Cameron also wasted a good early opportunity after Wales had lost the ball at the edge of their own area, but his finish was high and wide.
Referee Michael Ross pulled a hamstring and was replaced by his assistant David Redfern at half-time. Scotland started the second half well with the Welsh substitute goalkeeper Darren Ward saving well from Paul Dickov and then James McFadden. Earnshaw completed his hat-trick in the 58th minute when Ritchie again gave him too much space when he gathered a Robbie Savage pass and he shot high past Douglas. Worse was to follow for Scotland when Paul Parry set up Taylor with 12 minutes left and his shot went under Douglas.
Wales: Crossley, Edwards, Page, Melville, Gabbidon, Davies, Speed, Savage, Oster, Earnshaw, Giggs
Subs: Weston, Symons, Robinson, Fletcher, Taylor, Parry, Roberts, Ward
Scotland: Douglas, McNamara, Naysmith, Dailly, Stephen Caldwell, Ritchie, Fletcher, Cameron, Kenny Miller, Dickov, Pearson
Subs: Gallacher, Gary Caldwell, Gallagher, Murty, Webster, McFadden, Teale
Referee: Michael Ross/David Redfern (Northern Ireland)