Drought continues in Paisley rain as young Scots go year without scoring
IT may have been bucketing down in Paisley but the goals weren’t raining in as Scotland Under-21s’ drought officially stretched out to a year.
As a result of this dreich night at the Paisley 2021 Stadium and the 0-0 draw with Estonia it hosted – a friendly that was halted for five minutes in the second half due to a rogue sprinkler bursting into action – it means our youngsters have now gone a complete calendar year since they last hit the back of the net.
The last time the U21s scored was exactly a year ago to the day when an Oliver McBurnie strike coupled with a brace from Jason Cummings earned Ricky Sbragia’s side a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland.
While Scot Gemmill’s troops could not match that result or flurry of goals, the new head coach will have been pleased with the showings of his young team in this friendly ahead of their first Euro 19 qualifier away to the Netherlands in September.
Committed to offering youth a chance to bring through a younger generation of player, the likes of Stephen Mallan, Lewis Morgan and debutant Dom Thomas all looked pretty in pink.
It took just two minutes for Scotland to create their first chance and it fell to Paul McMullan. The Celtic man, currently on loan at Inverness, got a break of the ball on the right side of the box, but his sliced shot whizzed into the side netting.
They came even closer on seven minutes. It was home favourite Morgan with a bursting run through the heart of defence and a low stinging shot across goal. The St Mirren forward was thwarted by a fine low parry from Andreas Vaikla.
St Mirren’s other representative, Mallan, would also be denied by the stubborn man between the Estonian sticks 25 minutes in to halt his fierce low shot from 10 yards.
He would later whistle a stunning free-kick from 20 yards just by the far post and fire straight at Vaikla. Swansea striker McBurnie also went agonisingly close just moments before the break.
Second-half substitute Thomas was denied after a jinking run, but the wait for a Scotland goal now moves on to September.
PRETTY IN PINK: Stephen Mallan