McCullough off the bench for Northern Ireland

Portadown-born Luke McCullough was introduced as a substitute during Northern Ireland's Vauxhall International Challenge Match with Scotland in Hampden Park. Pic by PressEye Ltd.INPT14-100''PTSPORTGEN14
Portadown-born Luke McCullough was introduced as a substitute during Northern Ireland's Vauxhall International Challenge Match with Scotland in Hampden Park. Pic by PressEye Ltd.INPT14-100''PTSPORTGEN14
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Portadown-born Luke McCullough added to his tally of senior international caps last night (Wednesday) with a substitute appearance against Scotland.

The Vauxhall International Challenge Match at Hampden Park finished with a 1-0 win for Scotland and Northern Ireland’s focus will now turn to Sunday’s EURO 2016 qualifying game at home to Finland.

McCullough, who plays for Doncaster Rovers in League One, replaced captain Jonny Evans at centre-back on 80 minutes.

“From a positive point of view we left a lot of first-choice players out tonight,” said Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill in his post-match interview. “There were seven or eight players on the bench that could play on Sunday.

“It was very positive to get Jonny Evans and Aaron Hughes on the pitch together because they have not had much football with their clubs recently – and we basically ended up with three under-21 players on the pitch in Paddy McNair, Ryan McLaughlin and Luke McCullough.

“They are just young boys in the infancy of their club careers.

You have to put players on the pitch to give them experience

Michael O’Neill

“You have to put players on the pitch to give them experience.”