England brought Scotland crashing back down to earth with a comfortable 3-1 victory in a friendly at Hampden Park with Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane on target on Tuesday.
After five successive Euro 2024 qualifying wins there was a euphoric atmosphere amongst the Tartan Army who sensed an opportunity for a first home win against England since 1985.
But once Foden turned in Kyle Walker’s stray shot in the 32nd minute and then Real Madrid’s Bellingham punished an Andy Robertson error three minutes later the party went flat.
An own goal by substitute Harry Maguire in the 67th minute raised the decibel level again and Steve Clarke’s side briefly made life uncomfortable for England before captain Kane ended Scotland’s hopes with a typically clinical finish.
To make matters worse Norway beat Georgia in a Group A qualifier when a draw would have sealed Scotland’s place in next year’s tournament, although they remain in a strong position.
England, who drew 1-1 with Ukraine at the weekend, are also top of Euro 2024 qualifying Group C.
The 116th edition of international soccer’s oldest fixture was dubbed the Heritage Match to mark the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between the old rivals.
It was not a happy night for the Scots though as England claimed a 49th victory that could have been a lot more emphatic had they taken all their chances.
changes to the side that drew with Ukraine, handing defender Lewis Dunk his first cap since 2018 and offering Foden a start.
The depth in England’s squad was apparent though as they controlled the contest to give Scotland a reality check.
“The first half we didn’t really get started and England dominated the ball,” Scotland boss Steve Clarke told Channel 4.
“England showed the top side they are and we are trying to get to that level and some people maybe got a bit carried away and you have to understand where we are, trying to develop.”
Bellingham was simply magnificent as he continued his dream start to the season with Real Madrid and he set up an early chance for Walker who fired narrowly wide of the far post.
Bellingham was involved again in England’s opener, threading a pass to Marcus Rashford who teed up Walker for a shot which was going well wide but was diverted in by the alert Foden.
Scotland self-destructed soon after when they failed to clear their lines and Robertson played the ball straight to Bellingham who rifled a shot past Angus Gunn.
Maguire was given a run-out in the second half but the Manchester United player inadvertently handed Scotland a lifeline by clumsily prodding in Robertson’s low cross.
John McGinn glanced a header just over the top as Scotland suddenly looked dangerous but it was only a brief storm and the silky Bellingham was denied a superb solo goal by Gunn.
Bellingham then rounded off a great display with a slide-rule pass to Kane who finished with his trademark precision.
“I wasn’t happy with how I played against Ukraine, it wasn’t anywhere near my best and the motivation is always to get back to your best. I got somewhere close tonight,” Bellingham said.