UN­DER 21S

Evening Times - - SPORT - BY MARK WALKER

SCOT Gem­mill in­sisted there were plenty of pos­i­tives to take from the cam­paign de­spite Scot­land crash­ing out of qual­i­fy­ing con­tention in Kiev last night.

Celtic mid­fielder Lewis Mor­gan got the young Scots off to a bril­liant start with a goal af­ter just 53 sec­onds, but they were made to rue missed first-half op­por­tu­ni­ties.

And Rangers keeper Robby McCrorie (pic­tured) al­lowed a long-range shot from Olek­sandr Zubkov to slip past him which gifted Ukraine the lead, af­ter the same player had ear­lier equalised.

Scot­land needed to win to stay in with a chance of reach­ing the play-offs as one of four best placed run­ners-up, but as they pushed for an equaliser they al­lowed Vik­tor Ko­valenko to net with the last kick of the ball to give the hosts a flat­ter­ing score­line.

But Gem­mill be­lieves his side are pro­gress­ing. He said: “I’m sat­is­fied we made a huge im­prove­ment in our per­for­mance against Ukraine if you com­pare the game in Scot­land against them with that. But of course we are dis­ap­pointed to lose. to re­mem­ber how im­por­tant he has been for us.

“Against France at the Toulon Tour­na­ment and Hol­land away in the last game he made some great saves. There’s no doubt he will be able to han­dle it ma­turely.

“The big thing for me is the young play­ers who are in the squad – over 10 of them can play again in the next cam­paign and also the play­ers who have al­ready moved up from the 21s to the full squad.

“We feel the per­for­mances are get­ting stronger.”

Mor­gan said: “We all stand be­hind Robby, I don’t know if he was un­sighted or the ball swerved. He made a cou­ple of good saves in the game.”

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