Scorers: Scotland - Maloney (4), Kennedy (84); Israel - Barda (15)

WHEN Rainer Bonhof took over as Scotland under-21 coach he could never have envisaged that his second game in charge would be the catalyst for a protest over the Middle East crisis. He would also never have thought that after such a difficult build-up that the match itself would nearly have to be called off after two sets of floodlights failed to go on for the first 28 minutes.

Indeed, the former German internationalist would have been left perplexed when officials informed him that the lights failure had been caused by a small fuse blowing in a pie stall.

The incident gave some levity to a night when international politics overshadowed events on the park, although from a footballing point of view Bonhof's young charges put in a good performance. Certainly they were well worth their win, which was secured by Celtic duo Shaun Maloney and John Kennedy, who scored a goal each. One hundred and fifty pro-Palestinian supporters turned up at Ballast Stadium, Hamilton to protest at the SFA for sanctioning the game against the Israelis in the first place.

They booed the Israeli national anthem and shouted ''terrorists'' whenever one of their players touched the ball and not surprisingly were kept well away from the small band of Israeli fans.

Bonhof would have been forgiven a degree of bemusement that his attempts to get as many games as possible for his new charges had ignited such a hornet's nest and led to such a huge police presence. But afterwards he said that the hostile atmosphere had not affected his team, which he praised for the way they kept pressing throughout the match, although he was not getting carried away with the win. ''It was a good game but only a friendly,'' he said Bonhof. ''The team did not play any games for nine months and now we've had two in a short space of time. I do not want to build the tower too high just now after only two matches.''

A motion had been lodged in the Scottish Parliament to have last night's match called off while around 300 police officers, more than were in place for the Champions League final at Hampden, patrolled inside and outside the ground. Everyone going into the ground was given a body search, with the protesters making as much noise as they could during the game, realising the match was being broadcast throughout Britain on Sky television.

As for the on-field activity, the tone was set straight from kick-off with some hard tackling and open play from both sides. That attacking philosophy led to Scotland taking the lead in only four minutes, when Maloney headed home a Michael Stewart corner. James McFadden came close moments later but just when it looked like Scotland would take a grip of the game Israel equalised. A fluent three-man passing move ended with Elyaniv Felix Barda stroking a fine left-foot shot beyond Allan McGregor.

It may have been a friendly but both sides played the game at a furious pace, with McFadden putting in a good performance for the 65 minutes he was on the park. Indeed, his movement up front would have impressed the host of watching scouts which included representatives from Manchester United and Liverpool.

Others to catch the eye included Brian Kerr, the right sided midfield player from Newcastle United, Chris Doig, the cultured Nottingham Forest defender and Stewart, who was captain for the night. Bonhof could do worse than suggest to Berti Vogts that he starts Stewart in the full squad as out of all the under-21 squad he has shown the most potential in the two games he has been in charge.

The Manchester United midfielder set up both goals from set pieces with his cross for Kennedy's winner with six minutes left one of pinpoint accuracy. A draw against Denmark and now a win against the Israeli's suggests that Bonhof is putting together a team that is hard to beat. With Northern Ireland up next at Love Street tomorrow evening, the Scotland under-21 coach will be confident he has seen enough to suggest his team will keep up their unbeaten run.

Scotland U21 (3-5-2) McGregor (Gordon 45); McCunnie (Caldwell 45), Dowie (Kennedy 45), Doig; Duff, Kerr, Stewart, Pearson (O'Brien 78), Hammell; Maloney, McFadden (Lynch 65). Subs: McLean, McManus, Soutar

Israel U21 (4-4-2) Sekel; Yacov Moosa, Cohen, Mishaeloff, Gazal; Ohayon (Israilevich 73), Luzon (Biton 86), Abo Siam (Nagar 57), Degu (Azu 85); Felix Barda, Golan. Subs: Shivon, Mashiach, Azu, Hofi Nir, Attia

Referee John Feighery (RIrl)