World Cup - Berra earns Scotland draw in Slovenia

Wed, 29 Feb 21:42:00 2012

Scotland came away from Slovenia with a 1-1 draw courtesy of a Christophe Berra header.

Kenny Miller - 0

In an evenly contested international friendly it was a story of two headers as Andraz Kirm nodded the home side in front only for Berra to cancel out that goal when rising well to convert a Charlie Adam corner before the break.

Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew earned his first Scotland cap after being named in Craig Levein's starting line-up. Craig Mackail-Smith started alone in attack, while Gary Caldwell led his country out as captain for the first time in the absence of Darren Fletcher and Kenny Miller from the starting line-up.

Zlatko Dedic ploughed a lone furrow up front for Slovenia supported by Kirm, Josip Ilicic and Valter Birsa as coach Slavisa Stojanovic opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Birsa almost put the hosts ahead early on when he timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap but saw his shot blocked by Allan McGregor when clean through on the goalkeeper.

Scotland settled and almost scored themselves when Adam dinked the ball into the area for James Morrison who controlled and fired a shot in from a tight angle that Samir Handanovic pushed against the post. It was an excellent close-range save from the Udinese stopper, who had to react quickly.

A well-struck left-footed free-kick from Birsa was turned away for a corner at the other end by McGregor.

Caldwell then found Morrison with a penetrative ball into the area and the West Brom man fired in a shot from a tight angle that Handanovic managed to hold.

Slovenia took the lead when Miso Brecko escaped the attentions of Mulgrew down the right and crossed into the area for Kirm who headed low past McGregor.

But Scotland restored parity within seven minutes as Berra rose superbly to head in a corner from the lively Adam. It was an excellent leap from the Wolves man, scoring his second goal for his country.

The impressive Adam made way for Barry Bannan at the break after his Carling Cup final exertions at the weekend.

It was a second-half of few chances although Jamie Mackie glanced inches wide for Scotland and Dedic shot just off target as Slovenia ended on the front foot.

A raft of second-half substitutions, including a Slovenia debut for Newcastle's Haris Vuckic, did not help the flow of the game but Scotland coach Levein will have seen some encouraging signs as he prepares for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers which start in September.

Stewart Coggin / Eurosport

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