Saints’ defender turns on the style in Lithuania
PREPARATIONS for Scotland’s UEFA Regions’ Cup preliminary round trip to Lithuania finished with a late flurry of hectic activity for manager Bruce McNaught.
Douglas Ryan, East Kilbride, and Tony Jaconelli, Craigshill Thistle, were late call- offs but Bruce was delighted to recruit the services of Tony’s teammate Graham Butler and Scott Maitland of Oban Saints.
Scotland kicked off their Regions’ Cup campaign with a highly creditable draw against host nation Lithuania. The game had a dramatic and frustrating end for Scotland.
Scotland edged ahead with five minutes remaining only for Lithuania to grab the equaliser on 87 minutes.
As always in mini-tournaments, the Scots appreciated the importance of avoiding defeat in the opening match of the arduous schedule of three games in five days.
Saints’ defender Maitland came on as a second half substitute against Lithuania.
Maitland so impressed manager McNaught in his time on the park against the host nation that he had no hesitation in selecting Scott as the first choice left back for the second game against Estonia, which the Scots won comfortably 9- 0.
The young Saints defender put in an impressive performance against Estonia and was again selected to take on the left back role in the final, and crucial, game against Sweden.
Scotland produced yet another stunning performance to end this demanding week as the winners of the UEFA Regions’ Cup preliminary round group A with a close-fought 1- 0 win over the Sweden.
Scotland pipped host nation Lithuania on goal difference to win the group and now face France, Ukraine and Malta in group one of the intermediate round draw.
The intermediate round will take place in Malta in October with the eight group winners qualifying for the final which will take place in the last two weeks in June 2017 hosted by one of the countries that qualify.
A delighted Scott said: ‘It was a great experience and the best week I’ve ever had in my football career. I will be training hard to try and keep my place in the squad for the intermediate round in Malta later his year.’
Scott only returned to Oban on the Thursday night after three tough games in Lithuania but the young defender went straight into the Saints starting line-up that won the Jimmy Marshall Cup on Friday night.
Scott Maitland in action for Scotland against Sweden in the recent UEFA Regions’ Cup Tournament in Lithuania.