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Wayne Rooney in paradise

Two-goal Wayne sinks Scots and closes in on Sir Bobby

By Paul Hirst

Wayne Rooney silenced the ferocious home supporters inside Celtic Park as England eased to victory over Scotland in the Battle of Britain.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain converted a superb deep cross from Jack Wilshere in the first half and Rooney scored his 45th England goal after the break to double the lead.

Andrew Robertson pulled one back for Scotland in the dying minutes, but they could not add a second and Rooney found the net to seal the 3-1 victory over England's bitter neighbours and rivals in the place Celtic fans call Paradise.

England's faithful, vocal enough themselves, revelled in the victory, but they tainted their reputation by singing foul-mouthed provocative anti-IRA songs.

The Football Association will be forced to act, particularly when England are due to play in Dublin next June.

The main focus here should not be on the songs, though.

England deserve huge praise for the way they coped with the intimidating white-hot atmosphere in east Glasgow.

This was a real test for Roy Hodgson's young squad and they passed it with flying colours.

Many had questioned Hodgson's decision to play Wilshere in a deep midfield role, but he excelled last night, snapping at Scotland's heels and spraying delicious long passes.

England's full-backs got forward well and they looked sturdy at the back. Fraser Forster, making his second England start on his old Celtic stomping ground, did not have a save to make until the 55th minute.

But the biggest praise must go to Rooney, who moved above Jimmy Greaves to become England's third-highest goalscorer of all time on his 101st appearance for the Three Lions.

His expertly-executed header was a fine way to put England 2-0 up and just as he did on his 100th appearance against Slovenia, he scored at a crucial time.

England were made to feel unwelcome from the moment they stepped off the coach.

Scotland supporters gathered at the top of Celtic Way and yelled insults at the squad as they filed past statues of Celtic greats like Jock Stein.

It was much the same story at the start of the match. After walking on to a burst of fireworks around the pitch, not one word of God Save The Queen could be heard as the home fans booed and jeered.

Just as Rooney had predicted, England dealt well with the ferocious atmosphere.

David Marshall, who overcame an injury to start in goal, was tested for the first time seven minutes in by Danny Welbeck.

The England fans behaved well in the build-up by joining in a minute's applause for Scotland supporter Nathan McSeveney, who died from a fall here on Friday.

But they let themselves down by singing "F*** the IRA" for at least five minutes.

The home fans whistled and booed as tensions rose and Robertson raised their spirits by swinging in a teasing cross, but there was no-one there to tap in.

Any hopes of a Scotland opener were dashed 32 minutes in though. Wilshere pinged a long cross from deep and Oxlade-Chamberlain glanced the ball past Marshall.

Scotland made three changes at half-time, with Darren Fletcher, Craig Gordon and James Morrison coming on.

It was Gordon's first appearance for four years. His first act was to pick the ball out of the net.

Robertson failed to clear an England free-kick and Rooney expertly nodded home.

Charlie Mulgrew earned a booking for a rash challenge on Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Chris Smalling would have put the result beyond doubt had he converted a free header. At the other end, Forster made his first save of the night from Russell Martin.

England looked set to ease to victory, but Scotland pulled one back through Robertson.

But just two minutes later, Rooney turned home Adam Lallana's cross to move within three goals of Sir Bobby Charlton's record and put the result beyond doubt.

Belfast Telegraph


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