Conor Bradley ‘absolutely buzzing’ after scoring Northern Ireland winner

A deflected shot from Bradley in the 32nd minute proved to be the difference in Scotland.

Conor Bradley struck the winner in Glasgow
Conor Bradley struck the winner in Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)

Conor Bradley was “absolutely buzzing” after his first Northern Ireland goal was enough for Michael O’Neill’s side to beat disappointing Scotland 1-0 in a friendly at Hampden Park.

A deflected shot from Bradley in the 32nd minute put Northern Ireland in front against the run of play, and despite having more than 80 per cent possession, Scotland could not find a way back as their winless run stretched to seven games to leave big questions over their Euro 2024 preparation.

For Bradley, it was yet another big moment in a breakthrough season as the Green and White Army enjoyed their first win at Hampden Park in 50 years and the 20-year-old became the first Liverpool player to score for Northern Ireland in 110 years.

“I’m absolutely buzzing,” Bradley told BBC Sport. “I don’t think I could even dream it would go the way it did. To get a 1-0 win, it’s fantastic, a great night all round.

“I was just hoping it would go in and I was buzzing when I’ve seen it go in the top corner. I don’t even know what happened after that.”

Bradley, already the first Liverpool player to turn out for Northern Ireland since Sammy Smith in 1954, became the first Red to score for the country since Billy Lacey in 1914.

“That’s crazy,” Bradley said. “I knew I was the first Northern Ireland player from Liverpool in about 70 years and that’s even madder, to be fair.”

The win, and Bradley’s goal, underlines the sense that this is a new Northern Ireland side building for the future.

They came into the game on the back of an encouraging 1-1 draw away to Romania on Friday, and have held their own against two sides heading to the Euros this summer.

“We’re delighted with the result,” O’Neill said.

“It was a really good performance, a strong performance. Defensively we were excellent. With the team as it is at this minute, the team is maturing, it’s a brilliant result for the lads.

“We’ve played two very good sides who are going to be in Germany in the summer and that gives us a target. We’re not going to be there but it builds confidence, it builds belief in the players and that was the purpose of taking these games.

“Scotland will have different games in the finals where they will not have so much of the ball and that will probably suit them a little bit as well.”

Scotland certainly have a lot to think about going into the summer after a humbling week, having lost 4-0 to Netherlands in Amsterdam on Friday.

“It’s been a frustrating camp,” said Leeds defender Liam Cooper. “Ideally you’d like to go in to May and June on the back of a successful camp but it wasn’t meant to be. We have to get back to ourselves ASAP.

“We didn’t get too high when we got out of the camp and now is not the time to turn on each other and dig each other out. We’ve got to get back to ourselves and work hard to be the team we know we can be.

“Northern Ireland sat in tonight and we’ve got to be prepared to be patient and break them down. I think we got a bit edgy tonight and in the final third we could have been a bit more patient and wait for openings to be there.

“We forced it at times. Those are all things we can improve on and I’m sure the manager knows exactly what we’re doing come May in preparation for the Euros. We’ve got to get our heads down and work hard.”