YOU are on the bus to Hampden Park, dolled up in your kilt and the tammy with the big feather, and you land Christophe Berra in the sweep for first goalscorer.

It is hardly going to ruin your night out, but it is difficult not to look at it as money down the drain.

The somewhat surprising truth is that Berra has now put the ball in the net three times for Scotland. All three have come since Steven Fletcher scored his one and only goal in 19 appearances against Iceland almost six years ago.

The Ipswich Town centre-half, whose header five minutes from time secured a deserved win from a largely underwhelming friendly, cannot be depended upon to ride to the rescue when the meaningful matches get back underway, though.

Scotland should beat Gibraltar on Sunday, no matter who plays. As Mark McGhee, the assistant manager, stated earlier this week, there will be other games in this section that are likely to be settled by the conversion of one big chance and it is hard to know who is our man most capable of taking it.

Fletcher started as the lone frontman again last night. He did not play badly, by any means. He holds up the ball well, brings other players into the game and has real technical ability. Gordon Strachan believes we should expect more goals from the three players who operate behind him in his 4-2-3-1 formation and that is all very well, but shouldn't your centre forward get on the scoresheet now and again?

Fletcher is having a hard time at club level right now. He has managed just seven goals in two years for a struggling Sunderland side and attracted the ire of their supporters earlier in the week when, foolishly, posing for photographs beside a £300,000 Lamborghini Aventador in front of a most impressive mansion.

He had opportunities last night, for sure. And missed them, finding the quite inspired Hamilton Academical goalkeeper, Michael McGovern, more than his equal. He was finally taken off and replaced by Jordan Rhodes a little after the hour.

Rhodes has a terrific record. He scores for fun at every club he plays for. Strachan, however, is unconvinced of his worth in the system he opts to play and will have witnessed little in this cameo appearance to change his mind.

Scotland did reasonably well against Northern Ireland, considering it was a meaningless match between two understrength sides in front of a quiet home crowd, overpowered in song from beginning to end by a lively away section. Darren Fletcher was back as captain and will have enjoyed the outing with James McArthur in central midfield.

Matt Ritchie of Bournemouth settled into the system perfectly well and offered plenty. Ikechi Anya and Stevie Naismith showed they will always offer a threat. The visitors were restricted to very few chances.

It would just have been nice to see Fletcher get a goal or two to build up his confidence ahead of the upcoming challenges. This is a competitive group. How much simpler things might be if we had a striker in whom you could place faith to score on a regular basis.

This is certainly a quick, inventive team capable of carving out openings, after all. Scotland's first came after just four minutes.

Anya played an incisive one-two with Craig Forsyth on the left and made for the byline before feeding Fletcher with an intelligent cutback. The centre-forward did well to make space for himself amid a sea of blue shirts and was only denied by a good low save from Michael McGovern.

Anya has become a real darling of the Tartan Army in recent times and it is easy to see why. Once again, his every action carried an element of danger. If only he could have shown the same coolness he did when famously stroking the ball past Manuel Neuer in Dortmund last September, this game could have been over as a contest before the half-hour mark.

Three times Anya had a clear sight of the target. Three times he sent the ball wide of McGovern's right-hand post.

First time round, he did rather well in cutting inside before letting fly from just inside the area. His second attempt was a disappointment while he must accept that his third should have opened the scoring.

McArthur intercepted a pass from Chris Baird in midfield and produced a fine, surging run to move deep into enemy territory. His slide-rule pass to release Anya was perfectly weighted, the little winger's run equally impressive in its timing.

Sadly, the end result was best forgotten. Anya slashed at the ball and never threatened to trouble the Northern Ireland goalkeeper.

Michael O'Neill's decision to award McGovern only his second cap was a lovely gesture. The Hamilton keeper has spent his entire professional career in Scotland and will have appreciated the gesture of being afforded the chance to perform, once again, at his adopted country's national stadium.

He made the most of his evening in the spotlight, too. It would be no great surprise were he to keep his place for this weekend's European Championship match against Finland at Windsor Park.

Before the half-time interval, he had built on his earlier good work by denying Steven Fletcher twice more.

He produced a straight-forward low save on the half-hour, but did particularly well just a matter of seconds before the half-time interval when Fletcher had stolen in between Baird and Aaron Hughes to connect with an intelligent forward ball from Shaun Maloney.

Fletcher concluded his angled run with a firm shot from inside the area, but McGovern had closed down the angles and managed to get his considerable frame in the way. Fletcher did make one more telling contribution before making way for Rhodes. He released Forsyth up the left with a simple pass and the Derby County full-back's cross was headed just over the crossbar by Naismith, brought on at the interval for Maloney.

In truth, Northern Ireland offered little as an attacking force. Their one big chance came on 67 minutes when Christophe Berra, a replacement for Russell Martin, mistimed a tackle and allowed Josh Magennis to bear down on the target. The Kilmarnock forward evaded the back-tracking Gordon Greer to give himself a sight of goal, but his shot from inside the area went well wide of the far post.

With both managers now making countless changes, the match, as you would expect, became somewhat disjointed. Berra benefited when not being picked up at a corner. Ritchie provided a fine delivery from the right and the one-time Hearts defender got above Hughes to send a downward header bouncing past Lee Hodson on the goal-line.

We couldn't stick him in the number nine jersey on Sunday, could we?