The lights may have flickered but gone was the grumpy Holger Osieck seen after the lacklustre defeat to Scotland last month, replaced by a smiling and relaxed head coach following the Qantas Socceroos’ routine 3-0 win over Lebanon.
The result was never in doubt once Tim Cahill put Australia in front with a trademark header on a bumpy pitch at Saida International Stadium and there was even time for Archie Thompson to come off the bench and score his first goal in national team colours since February 2006.
Sandwiched between was a first international goal from industrious midfielder Matty McKay – one of three changes from the starting side beaten by Scotland at Easter Road along with Cahill and the pacy Nikita Rukavytsya.
The latter was looking to make his mark in a rare starting appearance but instead it was two old hands who combined to open the scoring, as Luke Wilkshire chipped over a cross for the powerful Cahill to head home.
And Cahill’s goal, coupled with his stellar performance against Japan in Brisbane last June, suggests the veteran attacker still has plenty to offer in green-and-gold.
Some critics have suggested Cahill may be too old to make an impact against world-class defences should Australia qualify for Brazil in 2014.
But the talismanic New York star looks at the very least likely to influence whether the Socceroos get there, particularly if he can get on the scoresheet against Jordan and Iraq in Australia’s upcoming two qualifiers.
There was little for another of Australia’s most recognisable stars – goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer – to do against an outmatched Lebanese side.
Winning a 100th cap is a momentous occasion for any player but after the match the ever-humble custodian spoke mainly of his relief at the landmark event being over.
The veteran shot-stopper clearly appreciates that the business end of the trip takes place next week, but perhaps it’s a good thing Schwarzer’s milestone moment occurred in a relatively low-key friendly to allow him to concentrate fully on the clash with Jordan.
Osieck will hope the friendly hasn’t come at a cost, with striker Alex Brosque copping a knock which forced his substitution.
The German tactician suggested Brosque will be fine to feature against Jordan and praised the contribution of the Shimizu S-Pulse striker alongside Cahill up front.
And with Rukavytsya and Robbie Kruse adding some much-needed pace down the flanks and McKay slotting in effectively alongside a rejuvenated Mark Bresciano in midfield, suddenly there’s cause for optimism that the loss to Scotland was nothing more than an aberration.
A cautious Osieck won’t let his team get carried away following a win over the 127th-ranked team in the world.
But there’s no doubt Australia needed a confidence boost and they got exactly that from an effective warm-up clash in fittingly hot conditions in Beirut.
About the only thing that went wrong was the early floodlight failure which delayed proceedings for almost five minutes shortly after kick-off – a sign that things don’t always go smoothly playing in the Middle East.
That’s something Osieck and his staff will be acutely aware of with the Socceroos on the hunt for a much-needed three points against Jordan.
They might not be in world-beating form, but the win over Lebanon suggests Australia should be good enough to get the job done in Amman.