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