SCOTLAND head coach Pedro Martinez-Losa said his players had ended the year on better spirits after they beat Venezuela 2-1 in the first ever match between the nations. As well as being the last game of 2022, it was the first since losing their World Cup play-off match to the Republic of Ireland at Hampden last month.

“The level of training in camp has been fantastic as well as the mentality,” Martinez-Losa said. “It was key to us moving on in terms of dealing emotionally with the aftermath of the World Cup campaign.

“Every player is leaving with a good feeling and with a sense of unity.”

As expected, the Spaniard selected almost a totally different side from the combination of young and experienced players which had beaten Panama 2-0 in what was questionably described as an under-23 game on Saturday. Erin Cuthbert, who has a heavy club schedule including Champions League group stage games, was the only survivor from that side.

Rangers goalkeeper Jenna Fife was also given game experience ahead of No 1 choice Lee Gibson, while Celtic captain Kelly Clark started only her second Scotland game, and third in total, alongside Rachel Corsie in central defence.

Cuthbert had the first attempt on target after two minutes, but although Scotland dominated the possession against a side 27 places below them in the FIFA rankings there were very few clear cut chances in the opening half hour. That changed when Martinez Losa's side appeared to have taken the lead.

Claire Emslie sent in a cross from the right which was contested by Fiona Brown, Venezuela goalkeeper Nayluisa Caceres and two defenders. Nobody got a clean touch and the ball ended up in the net, only for the referee to disallow it for a foul which was impossible to spot.

“I didn't think the officiating was the best,” Rosengard winger Brown pointed out. “I didn't jump, but got clattered by the goalkeeper and then she went down.”

The opener arrived six minutes later. Caroline Weir took a corner from the right and Clark scored her first Scotland goal with a near post header. A second quickly followed and it was also from a header, with Emslie directing Brown's cross into the net.

Venezuela were much more assertive in the second half and they got a goal back with a superb effort after 59 minutes. The ball was rolled to captain Deyna Castellanos just inside the Scotland half, and with her first touch the Manchester City player sent a first time lob sailing over the head of Fife, who was ten yards off her line.

Venezuela threatened to get back on level terms, but the best three chances in the final 15 minutes fell to Scotland substitute Kirsty Hanson. The Aston Villa forward hit the post with a shot, then fired the ball over the bar when it looked easier to score and finally was just too high with a well judged effort.