- Daniel Sturridge's stooping header from a Kyle Walker cross puts England in front after 24 minutes
- Adam Lallana heads in England's second just moments after Scotland had gone close at the other end
- Gary Cahill flicks home Wayne Rooney's whipped delivery into the far corner to make it 3-0 at Wembley
The header defeated Craig Gordon, and Gareth Southgate dropped to one knee and pumped a fist, theatrically.
Why not? This was a big win, both for England and for him. Southgate will be England's manager now, at least if he wants the job.
The Football Association did not need much encouragement to offer him the permanent role this winter and three goals against Scotland should more than do it for them.
Daniel Sturridge sticks his tongue out in celebration after putting England ahead against Scotland after 23 minutes
The Liverpool striker watches from the floor as his well-directed header flies past Craig Gordon and into the back of the net
Sturridge celebrates with his customary dance after putting the home side into the lead halfway through the first half
Adam Lallana was left unmarked as he rose to head Danny Rose's cross into the far corner to double England's lead
Lallana celebrates as Raheem Sterling congratulates Rose, as England took control of the game in the second half
It was a third headed goal for England when Gary Cahill flicked Wayne Rooney's corner into the net on 61 minutes
Cahill takes the acclaim of his team-mates after his goal which all but ended the game as a contest
Gareth Southgate sank to one knee and punched the air as England secured a comfortable win, and he secured his job
True, the scoreline was more convincing than the performance – and if Scotland had taken their chances who knows where we would be on Saturday morning, but English football is in no condition to demand perfection.
Southgate will face many opponents superior to a Scotland team that went down by the same margin in Slovakia last month, yet everyone knows this fixture can be difficult, no matter the chasm of quality between the teams.
Southgate's players knew what was at stake for him, and delivered a resounding win. It's far from the corner turned, but it's a start.
There was a basic gulf in class between the two starting XIs and that became evident the longer the match went on. Mostly, it could be found in the finishing. Scotland had excellent chances and missed, England had good chances and scored.
The minute before the goal that provoked Southgate's celebration – England's second – Robert Snodgrass fluffed a fine opportunity, a close range shot blocked by Gary Cahill.
All of England's three headed goals were more difficult but each was dispatched with expertise.
As Southgate delighted, Gordon Strachan, Scotland's manager, placed a tactics sheet over his head. He might as well have done that all week if his team planned on performing like this in front of goal.
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS, MATCH ZONE AND WORLD CUP QUALIFYING TABLE
Sorry, but it's true. Scottish football is in a dreadful state and not even sweeping changes from the last game – also a 3-0 defeat, in Slovakia – could paper over those cracks.
Just three minutes into the game, Scotland captain Darren Fletcher teed up a shot. He had time, he had space, the ball sat up at a nice height – and he sliced it so badly that had Joe Hart not scampered out to collect, it wouldn't even have reached the six yard box. That set the template for some truly woeful Scotland errors.
Coincidentally, the first move of the second-half saw Ikechi Anya speed down the right, take a wild swipe at the ball on the run, miss it, and fall over to great amusement from the home support.
Not that they would have been laughing had any of Scotland's other chances gone in, such as the free header presented to Grant Hanley after 27 minutes, which he somehow steered well over the bar, or the breakaway after Rooney gave the ball to Leigh Griffiths three minutes later.
All he had to do was square to Snodgrass, instead he went alone and finished with the lamest shot, straight at Joe Hart.
Kyle Walker carries the ball away from James Morrison as England looked to settle into the crucial clash at Wembley
Joe Hart was put under pressure by an early set piece, but the whistle had gone before the England goalkeeper's punch
Robert Snodgrass goes down under the challenge of Danny Rose as the visitors made a fast start the the game
England captain Rooney, recalled to the starting XI by Gareth Southgate, puts in a tackle on Ikechi Anya
Jordan Henderson takes hold of James Forrest's shirt as the Scotland midfielder looks to get away down the left hand side
The two managers, England's Southgate (right) and Scotland's Gordon Strachan, watch on from the touchline
Sterling, who caused Scotland problems with his direct dribbling, has his shirt pulled by Christophe Berra
The biggest concern for Southgate, no doubt, will be the sloppy play in England's back four.
John Stones may be a ball playing defender, but that is faint praise when many of the balls he plays go straight to the opposition. He was caught in possession after four minutes, resulting in another weak shot at Hart, this time by James Forrest.
England's goalkeeper was never threatened, but should have been. A good team – Spain on Tuesday, maybe – would have made England pay. Scotland couldn't even put together a coherent invoice.
The best move of the match belonged to Scotland, after 33 minutes, a succession of neat, sharp passes that culminated in another loose shot by Fletcher.
It was much the same after half-time. Wallace cut a good cross back from the left, Griffiths dummied and the ball fell to Forrest who made great space for himself in the box, before screwing his shot wide.
England went back up the other end minutes later and, given half a sniff, ended the contest. That was the difference, right there.
Sterling won several free kicks in the first half, and was unhappy at what he saw as an overly physical attempt to stop him
Henderson is penalised for a high foot as his foot comes dangerously close to the face of Forrest
Berra and Grant Hanley look on after Sturridge had squeezed between them to convert Walker's pinpoint cross
The delight on the England players' faces, and those of their fans, was clear to see following the opening goal
Walker was heavily involved in the England goal, putting in a powerful cross for Sturridge to divert past Gordon
The Scotland players look dejected after falling behind midway through the first half, despite making a strong start
Still, this should not diminish the night for Southgate, who was vindicated in his selections, not least the return of Wayne Rooney and the decision to name Daniel Sturridge ahead of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy.
It was 23 minutes before Sturridge touched the ball, and 23 minutes when he gave England the lead. Negligible would have been an understatement to describe his contribution in the early part of the game, and even when he did finally get involved it was only to lay the ball off some 45 yards from Scotland's goal, dropping deeper and deeper in search of the play.
What a difference, then, as the seconds ticked on towards minute 24. It was then that Sturridge arrived where he could do most damage, giving England the breakthrough they desperately needed and bringing Southgate and the rest of his management team to their feet a first time.
Raheem Sterling began the sequence, dribbling 25 yards from goal, looking for a good angle and finding one, before unleashing a fierce shot which cannoned off a pink shirt, falling kindly for Kyle Walker on the right.
The Tottenham man drove into the box before whipping in a cross with real venom. It was one of those that only needed a touch, and Sturridge was on hand for that, diving to get an edge on his marker and glancing his header past goalkeeper Gordon.
Given the pace of the delivery it went in like a shot. Gordon, starting his first competitive international since 2009, had no chance.
Lallana gets up to win the ball ahead of Anya, who was used as an attacking full back in a positive Scottish line-up
Rooney curls a free kick towards goal, but the Scotland wall rises as one to deflect it away from the target
Scotland captain Darren Fletcher fires at goal under pressure from England's defensive midfielder Eric Dier
John Stones was determined to play his way out of trouble, but that approach did not always go entirely to plan
Hanley heads over having been left unmarked by Stones, as Scotland threatened from set pieces in their quest to equalise
The central defender holds his head after missing Scotland's best chance of the first half, as Stones got away with an error
An agnry Rooney remonstrates with the linesman as a decision goes against England during a feisty encounter
Walker and Lee Wallace both go into a tackle with full commitment as the players gave their all at Wembley
Lallana throws himself in front of a Snodgrass cross as Scotland pushed forward in search of an equaliser in the second half
Snodgrass goes close from inside the box, but his shot was blocked by Stones and England scored again moments later
England were always the classier team, but it was not reflected in first-half chances. Sterling had a penalty shout when he collided with Lee Wallace after 14 minutes, but there didn't seem much in it.
Undoubtedly, Snodgrass clipped Danny Rose on the run in the area eight minutes before half-time but, having initially tried to stay on his feet, Rose's decision to then take a tumble looked false and drew only a shake of the head from Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir.
So the game was still close, England still vulnerable when two headers in 11 second-half minutes sealed it. The first came after Sturridge played in the excellent Sterling on the left, and he slipped the ball to Rose on the overlap. He hit a good cross, but Lallana made it look even better, directing his header to give Gordon no chance.
The third was set-piece simplicity. A corner from Rooney headed in by Gary Cahill. From there, England largely played keep ball, the opposition exhausted from their first-half urgency.
Sterling missed a cracking chance from a Jordan Henderson cross, but it hardly mattered. Scotland were done; and so is the FA's search. It is Southgate's job to accept or reject. The ball is in his court now.
Lallana watches from the floor as his pinpoint header made it 2-0, with Scotland failing to track the Liverpool man's run
Cahill gets ahead of Hanley to flick home the third England header of the night, as the hosts ran out comfortable winners
Gordon looks back in despair after conceding for a third time, with Cahill's goal preventing any way back for the Scots
Cahill wheels away in celebration on a night of broad smiles for England against the old enemy at Wembley
The Chelsea defender slides on his knees to celebrate with his captain, whose corner he had headed into the net
Henderson and Morrison battle for the ball during the World Cup qualifier that England won to stay top of the group
Hart tries to calm Walker down as tensions flared from time to time during the hard-fought contest at Wembley
A shirtless Scottish fan shows his support during a noisy build-up to the match, with 14,000 visiting supporters at Wembley
The stadium fell silent before kick off as poppies were laid on the pitch and both sides commemorated the war dead
A group of England fans hold up a banner marking Armistice Day ahead of the World Cup qualifier at Wembley