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Scotland beat Republic of Ireland in final Women’s Euro 2017 warm-up

Scotland celebrate Christie Murray’s late winner at Stark’s Park

Christie Murray scored with a late header as Scotland beat Republic of Ireland in their final warm-up match before the women’s Euro 2017 finals.

The substitute steered a header home on 85 minutes to give Anna Signeul’s squad a boost ahead of the tournament opener against England on 19 July.

Scotland captain Gemma Fay, winning her 200th cap, made a strong save to deny Megan Connelly.

But the hosts did most of the pressing and were rewarded by Murray’s goal.

The Scots, preparing to make their debut at a major finals in the Netherlands, will also meet Portugal (23 July) and Spain (27 July) in Group D.

The visitors arrived at Stark’s Park with five wins from their previous six games and were well organised in defence, sitting deep and allowing Scotland lots of possession.

Leanne Ross and Frankie Brown had early glimpses of goal for the hosts but it took until 27 minutes for Fiona Brown to test Ireland keeper Marie Hourihan with a fierce shot from 22 yards.

Minutes later, Hayley Lauder was denied when Harriet Scott blocked with a extended leg. The same player then cleared from Caroline Weir’s bending corner kick.

With three minutes remaining in the first half, Hourihan made the save of the match, clawing away a looping header from Erin Cuthbert.

The second half, punctuated by several substitutions, saw Brown and Lauder capitalising on Ireland errors to cause problems down the left wing.

But it was the Scotland defence that suddenly looked vulnerable and goalkeeper Fay was left alone to keep out a forceful Connelly strike.

Lana Clelland set up Cuthburt to shoot wide as Signeul’s team began to pin a tiring Ireland back in the latter stages.

A series of half-chances were spurned before Murray dashed into a good position and slipped a neat header past the grasping hand of Hourihan to send Scotland off to the Netherlands in good spirits.

‘Tough game’ welcome for Scots

Scotland players applaud fans in Fife at full-time

Scotland head coach Anna Signeul: “We got out of it what we wanted. We wanted to have a really tough game. They were very well organised, very hard to break down.

“We didn’t expect to get so much time on the ball and that slowed us down a little bit. It didn’t give us much room in behind.

“We needed to be creative and we needed to find solutions to try break them down or open them up. We had some great chances in the first half and some great shots on goal.

“We have worked a lot on defence and I think we still need to do a little bit on small details here and there. Work on set prices and things like that.”

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