So, nine years and counting. England came back from a goal scored by Scotland captain Jack Grimmer to win 2-1 at Tynecastle and lift the Victory Shield for the ninth time in a row. The goals for the visitors came from Arsenal's Zak Ansah and West Ham's Blair Turgott and perhaps overall they deserved to win. They rode out the period of Scottish ascendancy that led to the first goal of the night and bounced back quickly to stifle any Scottish dream of lifting the trophy. Many in the 2,870 crowd would have been there to see what they thought of Celtic's Isman Feruz. He was full of close control tricks, had lighting fast feet (in light blue boots which may not go down too well at Parkhead) and was willing to help his defence out on occasion. Unfortunately he could not cap an entertaining performance with a goal.
The boys from England looked to be a lot bigger in their all white strips compared to their hosts and it took Scotland at least ten minutes to find their collective feet and settle down. With the great and the good of the SFA in attendance (Gordon Smith, Billy Stark and Donald Park all spotted in the stand), the Scottish youngsters showed that there are a crop of good players in the making. If the majority can be steered clear of distractions, Scotland could have a decent national A squad in a few years. It was a pity for Scott Campbell (who had his own cheerleading section in the Tynecastle crowd) that his mishit in the penalty area gave Ansah a clear shot at goal which ended in the net. Not something you want to do at your own ground.
Celtic's James Wightman in goal, Mohammad Yaqub and Feruz all had good games with Wightman making at least three double saves in the latter part of the second half to keep the score line respectable. Apart from his error in the first half the same could be said of Campbell. The Scottish players appeared to run out of steam as the game wore on with a number of them taking advantage of any stoppage to stretch cramp out of their legs. Grimmer fell victim to cramp and had to be replaced in the second half but he had put in a captain's performance all night. There was a strong shout for a penalty - ably helped by the crowd in the stand - after the English second goal but the referee was unsighted and his pleading look to the standside linesman for a clue was ignored as two Scotland players blocked his view of the clear control of the ball with an English arm. So another campaign ends in disappointment. But there is a glimmer of hope.