STUART McLaren ended his four game stint as Scotland intermim head coach with a second 1-0 friendly win in five days, this time at Parc y Scarlets. The Scottish FA will now have to decide whether to offer him the job on a permanent basis or bring someone else in ahead of World Cup qualifying in September.

Just as it needed a penalty to beat Northern Ireland in Belfast, Scotland again struggled to score from open play against a hard-working and well-organised Welsh side. Their efforts were undone early in the second half when goalkeeper Laura O'Sullivan made a really bad error and gifted Erin Cuthbert the only goal of the game.

McLaren said before the game that making and taking better chances would be a priority, and admitted afterwards it was still a work in progress.

“The first half was difficult against a Welsh side which are very well coached and experienced but we still managed to create the best chance at that point of the game when Erin hit the crossbar,” he said.

“It was good that we made fewer mistakes and actually capitalise on one when the opposition made it. But yes, going forward we need to continue being better at creating chances and finishing chances, for sure.”

There were returns, as expected, for captain Rachel Corsie, Kim Little and Erin Cuthbert, while Caroline Weir, who came on as a substitute against Northern Ireland and converted the penalty, also started. Christy Grimshaw, who came on for a debut cap very near the end in Belfast, was also in the line-up.

Wales head coach Gemma Grainger, who replaced the longstanding Jayne Ludlow in March, included in her preparations a team bonding visit to the Brecon Beacons for outdoor activities supervised by marines. Her first two friendlies in April resulted in a 3-0 loss to Canada, who are eighth in the Fifa rankings, and a 1-1 draw against Euro 2017 finalists Denmark.

Wales, who are ranked nine places below Scotland at No 32, gave a first start to Manchester United forward Carrie Jones, came close in the opening 60 seconds. Jess Fishlock, who was once on loan at Glasgow City and won a Champions League medal with Lyon, fired in a shot which which went just over the Scotland bar.

Wales were the most dangerous side in the opening quarter, with Corsie having to scramble clear another Fishlock effort and Lee Alexander forced into a fine save from Angharad James, forcing her half volley round the post for a corner.

Alexander's opposite number, O'Sullivan, was rarely tested, with Brianna Westrup's header from a Weir corner – deflected off a Welsh head for another corner – just about all Scotland could manage until a minute before half-time. Cuthbert, who had been having a quiet night, fired in a great effort which beat the Cardiff City goalkeeper but crashed off the bar to safety.

Wales' best move of the game, on 54 minutes, deserved a better finish than Natasha Harding's wild lash over the bar from twelve yards out. There was worse to come for the home side when Scotland took the lead four minutes later.

There was no threat whatsover when Rachel Rowe passed the ball back to O'Sullivan. The goalkeeper had the sun in her eyes, but that was no excuse for allowing Cuthbert to win the ball and score an absolute gift of a goal.

The goalkeeper's confidence looked to have been affected when she nearly made another costly mistake and she was replaced by Olivia Clark 13 minutes from time. Wales created some late chances as they searched for an equaliser, buit none of them greatly troubled Alexander and her defence.