HUDDERSFIELD Town striker Jordan Rhodes may have drawn a blank on the scoring front but was at the hub of Scotland Under 21’s 3-0 win friendly over Norway at St Mirren Park.
Impressive goals from Tom Cairney, Ryan Jack and Stuart Armstrong handed Scotland a morale-boosting victory, but the win was marred by a serious injury to Motherwell defender Steven Saunders.
Saunders, who won a full Scotland cap against the Faroe Islands last year, was carried off on a stretcher with an Achilles injury.
Scotland recovered from the early blow to record a comfortable triumph as they warmed up for their European Championship qualifying campaign, which begins next month.
Hull midfielder Cairney coolly finished off a flowing move in 20th minute and Jack and Armstrong finished brilliantly in the final quarter.
Manager Billy Stark will have been heartened by the display ahead of the qualifiers, which begin on September 5 against Bulgaria at St Mirren Park, their home for the whole campaign.
But he will almost definitely have to do without Saunders, whose injury will be a serious worry to Motherwell manager Stuart McCall, who has been trying to add defensive cover to his thin squad.
Scotland started well as Johnny Russell took a pass from Rhodes, winning his second cap, in his stride and burst forward before unleashing a left-footed effort that Arild Ostbro pushed wide after a deflection.
Scotland were soon ahead after a superb team move. Rhodes took the ball in from Jack and laid it off to Scott Allan, who twisted and turned before rolling the ball to Cairney to pass the ball into the bottom corner from 16 yards.
Rhodes was unfortunate to be booked for diving by referee Padraigh Sutton, on the advice of one of the assistants, after being caught by a sliding challenge from Havard Nordtveit on the edge of the box.
Gregg Wylde could have slipped Rhodes through but opted to shoot and could not get the ball round the defender before Scott Allan pulled a left-foot shot after more good work from Jack and Rhodes.
Former Northern Ireland international midfielder Damien Johnson played a full 90 minutes as Town beat Burnley 4-2 in a behind-closed-doors friendly at AFC Emley’s Welfare Ground.
Former Clarets striker Alan Lee and midfielder Joey Gudjonsson both scored twice.
There were also outings for keeper Simon Thomas, defender Liam Ridehalgh, Nathan and Tom Clarke and striker Robbie Simpson.