Drought con­tin­ues in Pais­ley rain as young Scots go year with­out scor­ing

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOOTBALL -

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

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