Rickie Lambert marked his international debut with a match-winning header as England came from behind twice to defeat Scotland 3-2 in the first meeting between the sides in 14 years. Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck had cancelled out goals from James Morrison and Kenny Miller before the Southampton striker settled the contest.
Lambert, who while playing in the lower leagues supplemented his income as a professional footballer by screwing lids on the top of jars of beetroot, rose to nod home Leighton Baines’ corner in the 70th minute, having only been on the pitch for four minutes.
“That’s the way I’ve been dreaming it all my life,” Lambert said. “When we got a corner, I always fancied myself, and what a ball from Leighton.”
The win gave England bragging rights over their noisier neighbours from north of the border – the thousands of Scotland fans who made the trip gave their team tremendous vocal backing throughout the 90 minutes.
Roy Hodgson gave Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere his second start for England since June 2011, while Steven Gerrard captained the side after missing the recent friendlies against Brazil and Republic of Ireland.
Scotland, who won 1-0 the last time they visited Wembley, welcomed back Miller and Scott Brown, who missed their impressive victory in Croatia two months ago. Celtic midfielder James Forrest also came in to Gordon Strachan's starting XI for Aston Villa's Barry Bannan.
On a typical balmy summer’s night in England, complete with showers, the atmosphere in the famous stadium was arguably the best it has been for an international since the redevelopment.
With six minutes gone, Baines picked up the ball following a crunching tackle by Wilshere. He then whipped in a low curling cross, but Rooney mis-judged his shot on goal and the ball sailed through the box.
Five minutes later, the noisy Scottish supporters erupted with joy as their team took a shock lead through Morrison. Walcott nudged Welbeck's clearance from a Scotland corner into the path of Morrison, who unleashed a 25-yard shot towards goal. Joe Hart should have saved comfortably, but the England No1, unsighted by Rooney and Tom Cleverley, elbowed the ball in to his own net.
Walcott soon made amends, though, as he equalised just before the half hour. He was helped by a beautiful 30-yard pass from Cleverley, who split open the Scotland defence to set the forward free. The Arsenal man then turned Steven Whittaker before slotting the ball past a sprawling Allan McGregor.
England finished the half strongly. Welbeck back-heeled a clever pass into Rooney's path on the edge of the area, but the Chelsea target dragged his shot wide.
The game exploded into life after the interval when Scotland took the lead four minutes after the restart. Phil Jagielka gave the ball away to Shaun Maloney, who found Alan Hutton. The Aston Villa man played a great pass to Miller, who turned Gary Cahill before firing a low shot into the corner of the net.
Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor had to be alert to save Russell Martin’s backward header from a Gerrard free-kick, but this further whipped the travelling Tartan Army into a frenzy who taunted their hosts with cries of, ‘Can you hear the England sing?’ However, seconds later the answer was ‘yes'.
A Gerrard free-kick, floated into the box, was met by a downward header from Welbeck and this time McGregor could not keep it out. It was 2-2 and Wembley was rocking. Instead of a friendly, the match was more like a British cup tie – end to end, with some tasty challenges and tempers threatening to boil over.
Welbeck almost scored his second of the match with a spectacular volley after Jagielka had flicked on Rooney’s corner. Indeed, it was from a corner that the Three Lions took the lead for the first time in the match when Baines’s set-piece was headed home by the debutant.
England closed the game out well, but Lambert fluffed two good chances for his second in injury time, firing straight at McGregor when well placed.