Rickie Lambert scored with his first touch in international football as England twice came from behind to see off Scotland after a breathless encounter at Wembley.
The 31-year-old Southampton striker headed home England's winner just three minutes after replacing Wayne Rooney, to spare manager Roy Hodgson's blushes on a night when Scotland twice threatened to cause a huge upset.
Lambert's thunderous header from Leighton Baines' 70th-minute corner capped a fairytale debut for a striker who played for numerous lower-league sides and had to wait until his 30th birthday to play in English football's top flight.
But for Lambert's intervention, Hodgson may have faced some tough questions. Scotland twice took the lead as first James Morrison and then Kenny Miller took advantage of a goalkeeping error and sloppy defending respectively, before they were pegged back by goals from Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck, to set the stage for Lambert's decisive header.
England 3-2 Scotland: Rickie Lambert reflects on dream debut
At the final whistle, all 80,000 supporters at Wembley rose to applaud after the
oldest international rivals
had traded blows for the first time for 14 years, in a friendly match set-up as part of the Football Association's 150th anniversary celebrations.
From an England standpoint, this may not have been the convincing victory that Hodgson wanted ahead of key World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine early next month, but this was as exhaustive an examination as he could have hoped for.
The contest was committed and competitive. There were encouraging signs from the midfield trio of Tom Cleverley, Jack Wilshere and Steven Gerrard, while the flair and fortitude of Welbeck and Lambert will have offered encouragement ahead of four matches that will decide whether England go to next summer's World Cup in Brazil.
Even in defeat, Scotland were impressive and this performance will add to their growing optimism under the leadership of Gordon Strachan. The performances of Morrison and James Forrest caught the eye, while Scott Brown led with a calm assurance.
Lambert's decade of change
Ten years ago this week, Rickie Lambert was playing for Stockport as they lost 2-1 at home to Luton in what is now League One
The build-up had been dominated by Wayne Rooney and the uncertainty around his future at Manchester United. With the exception of a 45-minute appearance in a behind-closed-doors practice game against Real Betis 10 days ago, this was his first meaningful run-out since he scored in England's 2-2 draw against Brazil on 2 June. But this was not to be his night.
The 27-year-old striker was wrongly ruled offside on the stroke of half-time, as he latched on to Steven Gerrard's pass and fired in. Rooney looked a footballer desperate to prove a point - demanding the ball, launching himself into challenges and shooting on sight. He left the field to a standing ovation from the England fans, but it was his replacement who would steal the headlines.
It had been Rooney who had England's first chance, when he flicked Baines' fizzing low cross wide. But it was Scotland who landed the first blow.
Miller's tireless running won a corner, which was cleared only as far as West Brom midfielder Morrison, who unleashed a fearsome shot through a crowd of English defenders - one that crept beyond Manchester City goalkeeper Hart, who should have done much better.
Scotland redoubled their efforts and Grant Hanley suffered a head injury as he attempted to keep England at bay. With the Blackburn defender temporarily off the field receiving treatment, England equalised with the first half's single moment of brilliance.
Kenny Miller's goal made him the first Scotland-born player to score for his country in open play against England at Wembley since John Wark in 1979
Cleverley released Walcott down the right with a delightful pass. The Arsenal forward raced into the area, cut inside Steven Whittaker and prodded a left-foot shot beyond McGregor.
Scotland found new purpose as the second half began, and were soon back in front. Miller gathered Alan Hutton's clever cross and lost Gary Cahill with a drop of the shoulder, before turning on to his left foot and drilling a shot beyond Hart.
England had to respond quickly and they did. Gerrard whipped a free-kick into the penalty area, where Welbeck rose above Martin to head forcefully beyond McGregor.
Hodgson's side took control after that, and the pressure told. Leighton Baines curled a corner into the danger area, where Lambert, on as a substitute just two minutes earlier, thundered a header into the net.
90:00+3:13 The referee brings the game to a close.
90:00+2:51 Danny Welbeck takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Allan McGregor safely holds on.
90:00+1:32 Rickie Lambert takes a shot. Allan McGregor turns it away with a diving stop. James Milner decides to take the corner short.
90:00+1:16 The ball is delivered by James Milner. Grant Hanley manages to make a clearance.
90:00+0:51 Wilfried Zaha crosses the ball. Rickie Lambert takes a shot.
87:25 Jordan Rhodes takes a shot. Joe Hart safely holds on. Danny Welbeck fouled by Alan Hutton, the ref awards a free kick. Leighton
Baines restarts play with the free kick.
86:54 Shot by Steven Whittaker cleared the bar.
84:47 Substitution Shaun Maloney goes off and Steven Naismith comes on.
84:47 Wilfried Zaha produces a cross that goes out of play.
83:11 Unfair challenge on Scott Brown by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain results in a free kick. Alan Hutton takes the free kick.
83:11 Substitution Phil Jagielka leaves the field to be replaced by Phil Jones.
82:52 Wilfried Zaha sends in a cross.
82:31 Centre by Leighton Baines.
80:58 Substitution Jordan Rhodes joins the action as a substitute, replacing James Morrison.
80:58 Wilfried Zaha takes a shot and went wide left of the target.
79:32 The ball is sent over by Wilfried Zaha. Steven Whittaker gets a block in. Short corner taken by Wilfried Zaha from the right
by-line. The ball is sent over by James Milner.
78:01 The ball is crossed by James Milner. Shot by Frank Lampard went wide right of the post.
77:21 Frank Lampard has an effort at goal. Allan McGregor turns it away with a finger tip save. Corner taken by Leighton Baines
from the left by-line. Clearance by Steven Whittaker.
76:40 Alan Hutton delivers the ball. Joe Hart safely holds on.
75:30 Wilfried Zaha decides to take the corner short. The ball is crossed by James Milner. Blocked by Leigh Griffiths. Corner from
the right by-line taken by James Milner. Danny Welbeck takes a shot.
74:43 Substitution Wilfried Zaha on for Theo Walcott.
73:35 Corner taken by Leighton Baines from the left by-line. Clearance made by Grant Hanley.
73:22 The ball is swung over by Leighton Baines. Alan Hutton manages to make a clearance.
73:11 The ball is sent over by Rickie Lambert. Clearance made by Russell Martin.
72:25 Leigh Griffiths is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.
72:08 Substitution Leigh Griffiths joins the action as a substitute, replacing Kenny Miller.
71:37 Theo Walcott crosses the ball.
69:40 Leighton Baines provided the assist for the goal.
69:40 GOAL - Rickie Lambert:England 3 - 2 Scotland Rickie Lambert grabs a goal with a headed effort. England 3-2 Scotland.
69:12 Corner taken by Leighton Baines.
67:59 James Milner takes a shot. Blocked by Russell Martin. Grant Hanley fouled by James Milner, the ref awards a free kick. Allan
McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
65:39 Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
65:39 Substitution James Milner comes on in place of Tom Cleverley.
65:39 Substitution Rickie Lambert on for Wayne Rooney.
65:39 Substitution (Scotland) makes a substitution, with Charlie Mulgrew coming on for James Forrest.
65:39 Substitution Craig Conway on for Robert Snodgrass.
65:39 Wayne Rooney gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alan Hutton.
64:58 James Morrison produces a cross that goes out of play.
63:49 Corner taken by Wayne Rooney. Danny Welbeck takes a shot and went wide right of the goal.
62:46 Free kick awarded for a foul by Frank Lampard on Shaun Maloney. Frank Lampard shown a yellow card. Steven Whittaker restarts
play with the free kick.
62:21 Theo Walcott sends in a cross. James Forrest manages to make a clearance.
61:07 Substitution Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steven Gerrard.
59:27 Frank Lampard takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Allan McGregor parries the ball away. Leighton Baines takes a shot.
Allan McGregor safely holds on.
58:10 James Forrest takes a shot. Steven Gerrard gets a block in.
57:03 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Robert Snodgrass by Theo Walcott. Robert Snodgrass is booked. Theo Walcott receives
a caution. Shaun Maloney crosses the ball in from the free kick. Phil Jagielka manages to make a clearance.
55:28 Unfair challenge on James Forrest by Kyle Walker results in a free kick. Booking for Kyle Walker for unsporting behaviour.
Shaun Maloney restarts play with the free kick.
54:28 The ball is crossed by Robert Snodgrass. Steven Gerrard gets a block in. Corner from the left by-line taken by Robert Snodgrass.
Header at goal by Grant Hanley goes over the frame of the goal.
52:37 Assist on the goal came from Steven Gerrard.
52:37 GOAL - Danny Welbeck:England 2 - 2 Scotland Danny Welbeck scores with a header. England 2-2 Scotland.
52:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Scott Brown on Steven Gerrard. Steven Gerrard produces a cross.
50:30 Scott Brown challenges Frank Lampard unfairly and gives away a free kick. Steven Gerrard crosses the ball in from the free
kick. A parry by Allan McGregor prevents the goal.
48:51 Assist by Alan Hutton.
48:51 GOAL - Kenny Miller:England 1 - 2 Scotland Kenny Miller grabs a goal with a left foot finish. England 1-2 Scotland.
47:35 The ball is delivered by Kyle Walker. Clearance made by Grant Hanley.
45:01 The match restarts for the second half.
45:01 Substitution Jack Wilshere goes off and Frank Lampard comes on.
45:00+1:03 The referee calls an end to the first half.
44:59 Steven Gerrard has an effort at goal. Scott Brown gets a block in.
44:09 The ball is delivered by Wayne Rooney. Steven Whittaker manages to make a clearance.
42:49 The assistant referee flags for offside against Wayne Rooney. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
41:00 The ball is swung over by Alan Hutton. Clearance made by Kyle Walker.
40:15 Centre by Robert Snodgrass. Clearance made by Phil Jagielka. Corner from the right by-line taken by Shaun Maloney. Steven
Gerrard manages to make a clearance.
37:38 Theo Walcott produces a cross. Clearance made by James Forrest.
36:23 The ball is sent over by Jack Wilshere.
35:55 Kyle Walker sends in a cross. The ball is crossed by Leighton Baines. Clearance by Russell Martin.
33:10 Foul by Gary Cahill on Robert Snodgrass, free kick awarded. Steven Whittaker restarts play with the free kick.
32:32 Wayne Rooney takes a shot and went wide left of the net.
30:29 The ball is sent over by Theo Walcott. Shot by Tom Cleverley. Allan McGregor catches the ball.
29:48 Jack Wilshere gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James Morrison. Free kick taken by James Morrison.
28:28 The assist for the goal came from Tom Cleverley.
28:28 GOAL - Theo Walcott:England 1 - 1 Scotland Theo Walcott scores with a left foot finish. England 1-1 Scotland.
26:40 Theo Walcott produces a cross. Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Russell Martin gets a block in.
25:30 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alan Hutton by Leighton Baines. Russell Martin restarts play with the free kick.
22:26 Shot by James Morrison cleared the net.
21:20 Kyle Walker concedes a free kick for a foul on Robert Snodgrass. Free kick taken by Steven Whittaker.
20:38 The assistant referee flags for offside against Kyle Walker. Allan McGregor restarts play with the free kick.
16:51 Shot by Theo Walcott cleared the target.
15:35 Kenny Miller gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gary Cahill. Free kick taken by Steven Gerrard.
10:39 GOAL - James Morrison:England 0 - 1 Scotland James Morrison slots the ball right footed into the goal. England 0-1 Scotland.
10:08 Corner from the right by-line taken by Shaun Maloney. Clearance made by Danny Welbeck.
9:47 Shaun Maloney fouled by Kyle Walker, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Robert Snodgrass.
5:39 The ball is delivered by Leighton Baines. Wayne Rooney takes a shot and missed to the right of the target.
4:42 Scott Brown delivers the ball. Clearance made by Steven Gerrard.
3:28 Foul by Phil Jagielka on Kenny Miller, free kick awarded. Alan Hutton takes the free kick.
2:55 Unfair challenge on Alan Hutton by Wayne Rooney results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Alan Hutton.
1:47 A cross is delivered by Kyle Walker. Scott Brown manages to make a clearance.
1:26 A cross is delivered by Kyle Walker. Grant Hanley gets a block in.
0:27 Robert Snodgrass takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Cahill. Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jack Wilshere by Robert
Snodgrass. Steven Gerrard restarts play with the free kick.
0:00 The match has kicked off.
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