After half an hour of a predictably frantic first half, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nodded home a precision long ball from the impressive Jack Wilshere before Rooney’s effort early in the second half put England in sight of a routine victory.
It was not all plain sailing for Roy Hodgson’s visitors as a neatly-worked late goal from Andy Robertson ignited Scottish hope again – but a swift and emphatic reply from Rooney ensured England remain unbeaten north of the border since 1985.
Despite the crescendo of a partisan crowd creating an intimidating atmosphere ahead of kick-off, England were quickly into stride and carved out two decent chances in the opening five minutes.
Gary Cahill should have done better than send a free header high and wide from Stewart Downing’s corner and moments later, Danny Welbeck fired tamely at David Marshall when played into space in the inside left channel by Rooney.
Scotland survived and applied some pressure of their own before the quarter-hour mark with Ikechi Anya causing Nathaniel Clyne problems down the hosts’ left and Steven Whittaker seeing two well-struck drives blocked by England defenders.
The home side’s best move followed with Shaun Maloney and Scott Brown combining neatly to elude several tackles and set Robertson free down the left, only for the full-back’s pacy cross to flash across Fraser Forster’s goal to safety.
The moment of the first half belonged to England, though, and it came in the 32nd minute. Wilshere collected the ball just inside Scotland territory and after a quick glance up, picked out the run of Oxlade-Chamberlain with a perfect diagonal ball that his Arsenal colleague glanced into the far corner from 12 yards.
Maloney lashed an inviting opening wastefully into the stands three minutes before the interval and the half-time whistle then came amid a cacophony of whistles attempting to drown out a rendition of ‘God Save The Queen’ from around 5,000 travelling supporters.
There were no fewer than five changes at half-time with Phil Jagielka replacing Gary Cahill and Adam Lallana on for the largely-anonymous Downing for England, while Scotland boss Gordon Strachan threw on Craig Gordon, James Morrison and Darren Fletcher in place of David Marshall, Scott Brown and Chris Martin.
The second began poorly for the hosts – Charlie Mulgrew going into the book for a cynical body-check on a flying Oxlade-Chamberlain.
From the resulting set-piece, the ball fell for Wilshere and his volley across goal ricocheted off the boot of Robertson into the danger zone, where Rooney did well to generate enough power to send an eight-yard header beyond Gordon and into the corner of the net.
Scotland worked Forster for the first time in the 51st minute, when Mulgrew’s long diagonal free-kick eluded Rooney and fell for Russell Martin, whose instinctive header forced the Celtic goalkeeper to tip the ball over from just underneath his crossbar.
The game became disjointed in the final half-hour with the substitutions continuing – Hodgson replacing Luke Shaw and Welbeck with Kieran Gibbs and Raheem Sterling while for Scotland, Sheffield Wednesday striker Stevie May entered the fray in place of Grant Hanley as Strachan looked to force a way back into the game.
Wilshere then dragged a slightly awkward volley well wide of the post from 18 yards as England looked to add gloss to the scoreline but at the other end, the game was suddenly brought to life again with six minutes of normal time remaining.
The ever-willing Robertson showed great determination and vision to slide in recently-arrived substitute Johnny Russell down the left and the Derby forward’s return pass provided Robertson with the chance to tuck the ball home low at the near post.
But any hopes of a famous comeback were immediately extinguished by a slick move from the visitors, with an incisive pass from the tireless James Milner sending Lallana down the by-line and Rooney slamming home the Liverpool man’s cut-back from six yards.