Scotland head coach Brian McLaughlin cited in his post match interview the importance of the team challenging themselves against strong opposition and Switzerland certainly proved to fit the criteria in this Vauxhall Under 15 International Challenge Match at Forthbank Stadium. Scotland maintained a strong possession-focused performance throughout but were undone in the second half by a Guillaume Furrer brace. The first was a dipping 51st minute free-kick from the Servette FC player and the second five minutes later, a composed finish inside the penalty area.
Switzerland signalled their intent early with a bright start and won a free-kick in the 5th minute. Ricardo Azevedo curled in an excellent delivery from the right but teammate Felipe Miguel Freitas Borges could not adjust his footing and knocked the ball past the post from close range.
It did not take long for Scotland to assert themselves, however, as the imposing Dean Campbell threaded his club teammate Tyler Chicken through on goal but the wide player could not arrow his effort away from the oncoming goalkeeper who gathered confidently.
Positive combination play in the 9th minute saw Scotland captain Billy Gilmour win a free-kick in an enticing position on the edge of the box. Gilmour brushed himself down to bend the ball up and over but Swiss goalkeeper Andre Pinheiro produced a fantastic stop to turn it over the bar. This was to be the start of a sustained period of pressure from the Scots and an indication from Pinheiro that he was ready for whatever they had to throw at him.
A high tempo ensued from the home side as they sought to get their wide players to the byline whenever possible. Successive teasing balls were sent across the face of the goal but the Switzerland defence proved equal on more than one occasion.
Gilmour quickly found his footing, showing some neat footwork in the middle of the park, and was teed up by Kieran McKechnie in the 26th minute. Gilmour’s effort was struck with venom and accuracy but as it headed towards the top left corner Pinheiro leaped across to acrobatically divert the shot over the bar. Minutes later, Harry Cochrane adjusted his feet with expertise to fend off defenders on the edge of the Switzerland area before firing a shot which was just too close to the goalkeeper.
Gilmour, McKechnie and Campbell were just three of a list of impressive Scotland performances but Switzerland held their defensive shape well, looking for the opportunity to counter through Borges and Felix Khonde Mambimbi.
The last clear cut chance of the half would arrive as a result of a lofted ball into the box in the 36th minute. Kieran McGrath rose highest to nod his effort inches over the bar.