Whilst their senior counterparts looking increasingly unlikely to qualify for Euro 2012, Scotland Under-21s face a make or break test in Edinburgh tonight, Alex Hendrikson looks forward to it.
It has been twelve years since Scotland competed in a major tournament and fourteen years since the Under 21 side achieved an impressive fourth placed finish at the 1996 European Championship, knocked out by the hosts Spain in the semi-finals. It is a sorry state of affairs, when considering if the seniors fail to reach the Euros in two years time, a whole generation of Scottish teenagers will have no living memory of watching their country in a major tournament.
Tonight, the Under-21s at least have a chance to put this sorry record to bed, when they face Iceland, trailing 2-1 from the first leg. Qualification would provide a much needed boost to a national game down in the dumps following the senior’s poor showing in Prague and the news of Dundee falling into administration.
The tie is certainly poised nicely to make for an enthralling game. Three excellent strikes graced an exciting opening leg in Reykjavik on Thursday, played in front of some 7,000 fans. The crowd in Leith tonight is expected to match this and their should be a good atmosphere in the compact home of Hibernian. Jamie Murphy, who fired the Scots into the lead in Iceland, will be one of several exciting prospects on show for both the home and away sides.
As Scotland manager Billy Stark pointed out, the Icelandic side have several players with senior caps to their names, and many view them as a so called “golden
Low ticket prices, a big and noisy crowd in an excellent compact stadium and a contest that could not be better poised to make for an exciting game of football. Anybody in the Edinburgh locality at a loose end tonight should get them self down to Leith for this fascinating fixture.