Camp­bell re­fuses to give up Euro 2021 dream as Scot­land’s qual­i­fi­ca­tion camapign fal­ters

Evening Times - - SPORT - Mark Walker

SCOT­LAND UN­DER-21s skip­per Al­lan Camp­bell in­sists Scot Gem­mill’s side are still in the mix for Euro 2021 de­spite an ag­o­nis­ing three-game goal drought that has se­ri­ously ham­pered their qual­i­fi­ca­tion hopes.

The young Scots slumped to third in their group at the half­way point af­ter con­ced­ing an in­jury-time penalty to the Greeks in a bad-tem­pered en­counter at Tynecas­tle. It’s the third game in a row Scot­land have failed to score and it will surely cost them in their bid to qual­ify and undo the good work af­ter win­ning in Croa­tia and draw­ing in the Czech Repub­lic.

Greece even had to play with 10 men for most of the sec­ond half af­ter their cap­tain – Bayer Lev­erkusen cap­tain Pana­gi­o­tis Ret­sos – was sent off af­ter gain­ing two yel­low cards for lunges at Billy Gil­mour, the Chelsea play­maker.

But Scot­land rarely looked like scor­ing and were hit by a sucker punch when Daniel Harvie con­ceded a stop­page-time penalty for hand­ball, which was con­verted by Em­poli’s Dim­itris Niko­laou. How­ever, Mother­well mid­fielder Camp­bell reck­ons Harvie will soon bounce back from it and has no con­cern over Scot­land’s lack of fire­power.

He said: “We put a lot into the game and we worked hard in train­ing all week. I thought we dom­i­nated large parts of the game so to come away with noth­ing is re­ally dis­ap­point­ing. We just need to re­group and con­cen­trate on the next game.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing. We have got a good group with a good spirit. The boys will go back and Scot will have us or­gan­ised for the game in Greece in March.

“We’ve been play­ing well. We are dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult, but we just have to learn from the neg­a­tives.

“We have cre­ated a lot of chances, it’s just we’ve not man­aged to get on the end of them. It’s not some­thing we are con­cerned about. We just need to take those chances. We are still in the hunt.

“We are look­ing for­ward to play­ing Greece and we are still in a good po­si­tion.

“It was a les­son for us be­cause it was tough to play against them when they went down to 10 men. They sat in deep and made it hard for us. We need to im­prove for the next game.

“The penalty was just one of those things. I’ll ob­vi­ously see if Daniel is all right, but I am sure he will be fine. He’s been play­ing for a long time an he’ll re­cover from it.”

Camp­bell at least had the con­so­la­tion of cap­tain­ing his coun­try for the first time on his 20th ap­pear­ance for the Un­der-21s – some­thing which came as a sur­prise to his many fam­ily mem­bers who came through to Ed­in­burgh.

He said: “It was a huge hon­our. It’s al­ways an hon­our to come away with Scot­land any­way, but to get the arm­band was a proud mo­ment for me.

“I’ll take any role I am given. I was a bit higher tonight be­hind Fraser Hornby, but I will play any­where for the team – if the man­ager wanted me to play right­back or as a right winger I would do it. As long as I am in the team I will go out and do my best.”

“My fam­ily al­ways come to the games,” he added. “Hope­fully, I made them proud.

“It was my mum and dad, cousins, aun­ties, ev­ery­body! I never got a chance to tell them I was cap­tain be­fore the game, so it was a nice sur­prise for them hope­fully.

“It’s def­i­nitely right up there - one of the proud­est mo­ments of my ca­reer. To walk my coun­try out is some­thing I will look back on with pride.”

It’s al­ways an hon­our to come away with Scot­land, but to get the arm­band was a proud mo­ment

Mother­well’s Al­lan Camp­bell cap­tained Scot­land dur­ing their 1-0 de­feat to Greece

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