Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce's response to the recall of his troops from so many far-flung corners of Europe was to alter the timing of his team's training session yesterday to late afternoon.

With Bolton Wanderers due at St Andrew's tomorrow for what already looks a key fixture even at this early stage of the campaign, Bruce was hoping for as much time as possible to work with his squad. And he was grateful that they all reported back in one piece.

Full back Stephen Kelly was one of the Republic of Ireland side made to go without a bit of sleep after losing in Prague, in which Colin Doyle did not figure at all, while Mikael Forssell came off the Finland subs' bench for the final 20 minutes of a 0-0 draw in Poland.

Garry O'Connor was also a late substitute on a memorable night in Paris for Scotland, replacing scorer James McFadden for the final quarter hour.

Johan Djourou was another to make a late appearance for Switzerland in their 4-3 friendly defeat at home to Japan on Tuesday night.

And Maik Taylor had to fly back disappointed from Iceland as Northern Ireland were beaten 2-1 in the last minute thanks to an own goal from Keith Gillespie. But not as disappointed as Gillespie and team-mate George McCartney, who were involved in a scrap on the plane before it had even left the runway.