National Teams (55)
Scotland continued their good international form with a well-fought win over their southern neighbours in Stirling. This may have been another clash with the auld enemy but this match was definitely about the new vein of players and how both nations compared to each other in 2017.
Forget your Gemmells, Shearers and Dalglishs, this was a chance to see what players were destined to take their places in English and Scottish history books. The passion was still there, though, just like any other game between the two sides at any age group. This was clear as both teams sung their national anthems with pride ahead of the match, this was patriotism in the form of sport.
England kicked off and made sure to press high up the pitch and make this Scotland back line react with tetchy clearances and mistakes on the ball. England found most of their initial attacking threats through the left back Matthew Bondswell as Scotland’s Cameron Logan often sat too narrow allowing Bondswell a lot of space to easily collect the diagonal balls played to him and run at the backtracking Logan, often causing problems for the centre backs who would have to clear with last-ditch tackles to keep the scores level.
Bondswell was booked on six minutes after slicing Cameron Logan from behind which allowed Scotland to slow the pace down and get involved in the game which eventually resulted in them winning a free kick on the left wing.
The ball was chipped by Connor Smith to the back post where miraculously Cole Starrs, Josh Grigor and the captain Ben Cameron were all unmarked but Starrs’ header was tame and Harvey Collins in the England goal collected with ease.
Just as the first half was drawing to a close, England’s Rafael Garcia, who had in truth struggled to be effective in the game up to this point, took a pass from the left and was dragged to the floor by Ben Cameron just inside the box as Garcia attempted to shift the ball onto his right foot.
The referee Colin Steven pointed to the spot and Tottenham’s Nonso Madeuke stepped up to take the penalty just before half time. Madeuke’s side stepping run aimed to confuse Jack Newman in the Scotland goal but the ‘keeper confidently leaped to his bottom left to tip the shot wide and then stood tall to block Alexander Mightem’s rebound effort. An excellent display from Newman to round off a fairly even first half.
Scotland Under 16s kicked off their series of international friendlies with a comfortable 7-0 victory over Qatar in Edinburgh.
First half goals from Andrew Winter and Cole Starrs put the hosts in a commanding position going into the break.
The Scots continued to dominate in the second half, Starrs grabbed his second and Scotland’s third before substitute Karamoko Dembele scored one and set up three goals, two for Michael Sparkes and one for Jamie Hamilton.
Playing possession football and keeping the ball is one of Scotland manager Brian McLaughlin’s key objectives for this week, and his players looked to do just that straight from kick off.
In the middle of the park Reece McAlear and Jensen Weir gave Scotland a physical edge over their opponents, and quickly established the control needed to dictate the pace of the game.
After a patient start, Scotland found some space and struck. Left back Liam Miller’s burst into the middle of the pitch and through ball to Winter opened up Qatar’s defence. Winter controlled on his left before opening his body and passing the ball into the far corner.
Scotland’s second came from a similar position. Captain Connor Smith cut in from the left before playing splitting the Qatar defence with a reverse ball to Winter. The Hamilton forward got to the pass just ahead of Qatar keeper Yousef Abdullah Balideh, who crashed into Winter’s standing leg and brought him down.
Starrs stepped up to take the spot kick. His low shot to the left struck the post but fortunately rebounded straight back to his feet. After adjusting his body Starrs guided the ball high into the net.
Scotland booked their place at the Euro 2017 finals in Croatia this summer with a battling win over Switzerland.
In a scrappy game with few clear cut chances, a Glenn Middleton penalty midway through the first half was enough to see the Scots over the line and qualify for the Euros for a fourth successive time.
With Scotland only needing a point to secure qualification, they were content to let Switzerland have the ball in their own half and applied pressure only when the Swiss crossed the halfway line.
As a result Switzerland dominated possession and sought to dictate the game, with their quick and skilful midfield knocking it around comfortably.
However it was fifteen minutes before they threatened, when attacking midfielder Alexis Antunes pickpocketed Daniel Church on halfway and broke forward. He worked the ball to Miraelm Amzi on the edge of the box and he flashed a shot just wide.
Amzi was at it again just a minute later but again could not find the target from a similar distance.
Switzerland then came extremely close to opening the scoring on 19 minutes. A ball over the top caused confusion between Josh Donaldson in the Scotland goal and his defence. The ball fell to Amzi who rounded Donaldson and hit a low shot on goal, but it was brilliantly blocked on the line by Robbie Deas.
It was a warning Scotland heeded as they looked to create some chances of their own. They did so when full-back Church was given the ball on 22 minutes out left and drove forward, beating two players before digging out a cross.
The ball was allowed to bounce by the Swiss defence and hit Elis Isufi on the arm, which Polish referee Krzysztof Jakubik deemed a penalty despite the defender’s protests.
It was perhaps a harsh decision, made worse for the Swiss when Norwich striker Middleton stepped up and dispatched the penalty emphatically to bag his fourth goal of the Elite Qualifying Round.
Switzerland almost got themselves level just before half-time but Ruben Del Campo headed over from close range after some good work from full-back Busset.
Scotland have one foot in the European Under-17 Championships following a 1-0 win over Serbia at St Mirren Park. Glenn Middleton’s goal midway through the first half was enough to give the home side the victory in a tight match with chances few and far between.
The game got off to a slow start, both sides struggling to get a good passing move together. Scotland’s front three of Middleton, Jack Aitchison, and Zak Rudden were playing too close together, all being dragged down the Serbian’s left. Rudden, who was playing wide right, was forced deep often to cover the runs of Dimitrije Kamenovic and Zeljko Gavric.
It took 17 minutes for either side to register an effort on goal, and it was Serbia’s Filip Stuparevic with a shot over the bar from outside the area. But just as Serbia looked to be making headway into the Scotland half, they were hit by a quick counter attack which proved to be devastating.
The pacey Middleton was involved in breaking away and winning a corner and when Elliot Watt sent it deep to the back post, Kerr McInroy had the time and presence of mind to bring it down and pick out Middleton on the edge of the box. A touch to open up his body and make the space and another to find the bottom corner past Milos Gordic. 1-0. It was his second goal in two matches following his effort against Montenegro on Friday.
Serbia almost caught Scotland cold from the restart, Stuparevic getting only the slightest of touches to Milutin Vidosavljevic’s cross and failing to find the net from a little over six-yards.
Having avoided the scare, Scotland managed to carve a couple of half chances themselves. McInroy blazed over after Rudden’s driving run had opened up Serbia’s defence, and Middleton forced a good save from Gordic after the Scot’s winger’s pace had put him through.
Crosses seemed to be Serbia’s most likely route to goal and they had their best opportunity of the match just before half-time when Gavric’s cross found Kamenovic, the full-back covering a large amount of ground to put himself in a position to equalise, but he somehow contrived to put it over the bar, the Scottish defence deserving credit for putting him off.
After losing their Centenary Shield opener to England, Scotland ran out emphatic winners at Newtown with a 5-1 victory over Wales.
The home side kicked off in stormy conditions, however were immediately placed on the back foot by a Scotland side out to prove themselves after a disappointing result against current holders England.
Five different scorers found the net for the away side to cap off an impressive and much-needed victory. The side dominated both halves as they aim for an elusive Centenary Shield, having last won the competition outright in 2000.
As the wind and rain continued to fall in the opening stages of a frantic affair, Calvin McGrory was unfazed as he lobbed an excellent through ball into the path of Declan Glass. Glass, reaching the ball and gathering under control, then ventured on an excellent run as he twisted and turned past a worrying Wales defence. Glass eased past two defenders with clever feet and forced a good save from Jack Atkinson in the Wales net. The home side's number one however could only parry the ball to the feet of the well positioned Matthew Reilly, who did well to finish from a tight angle to provide the first goal of the game.
Less than five minutes later a quick free-kick at the back caught Wales out, with the ball finding the feet of Glass once again. The dangerous attacker turned sharply before running at the Wales defence, and on this occasion his efforts paid off as his 25-yard strike found the bottom corner.
Five minutes later however the home side were right back in it, when Callum Saunders whipped in a dangerous free-kick from well outside the box. The number 8's left-footed strike somehow evaded both sets of players and rolled into the bottom corner past a helpless Ross Connelly in the Scotland net. Wales now found themselves on the front foot as they pushed for an equaliser, which almost arrived through Keane Watts, whose header went narrowly wide after excellent build up play in the Welsh midfield.
Just before the half hour mark however the Scots dented any hopes of a Welsh comeback as Captain Kyle Banner's effort squeezed under Atkinson and into the back of the net. The away side bagged their fourth just minutes later when the impressive Euan O'Reilly once again proved his ability with a dangerous attack down the right. The winger's fantastic composure and low cross found the feet of Adam Brown, who controlled with ease and turned expertly before firing into the gaping goal.