Scotland’s bid to qualify for the UEFA Euro Under-21 Championship for the first time since 1996 has taken a dent after losing 1-0 to Denmark at Tynecastle in the second game of their campaign.
Scot Gemmill’s side kicked off the first of four home games looking to build on the 1-1 draw with Turkey in Bursa last month but it was always going to be a tough night against the top seeds in the group.
Glenn Middleton created Scotland’s first real chance of the game five minutes in, sliding Harrison Ashby inside the Danish defence but the full-back’s effort was blasted high over the bar after a surging run from deep.
However, just as Scotland started to really settle into the game, the Danes took the lead with only 12 minutes played. A poor mistake by Manchester City keeper Cieran Slicker saw him misjudge an effort from Gustav Isaken with the keeper flapping and letting the midfielder’s strike from the edge of the area go right through him.
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Despite going a goal down, there was plenty of endeavour from the Scotland starlets with the likes of Ben Williamson and Adam Montgomery causing problems for the visitors but they couldn’t force the Danish keeper into action.
Both sides looked more than comfortable in possession but there seemed to be a vulnerability in the Danes out of possession and Scotland tried to capitalise on that as the opening half flew by in a flash.
Denmark did look threatening when they broke forward though and the visitors had a few chances of their own to add to the scoring before the break but we’re, like Scotland, let down by poor decision-making and finishing.
When the two sides made their way off at the break, the visitors will have felt they were good value for their lead – despite it coming from a goalkeeping error – but there was plenty for Scotland to be happy with from their own performance.
With neither side making any changes at the break, it was the Danes who had the first chance of the second 45, Lindstrom firing high and wide from close range as Scotland struggled to get going after the restart.
Scotland slowly started to get their footing, finally forcing Hermansen into a save when Middleton’s long-range effort needed the Danish keeper to be alert to palm the ball to safety.
Scot Gemmill made his first change of the night on 55 minutes, Dapo Mebude coming on to replace Adam Montgomery as signs of frustration started to creep in for the hosts – Fiorini picking up a booking for a rash challenge.
Just as the hosts looked to be getting back into the game, Ben Williamson and skipper Stephen Welsh both picked up knocks within seconds of each other, both, however, were able to continue as the Scotland dugout breathed a massive sigh of relief.
Williamson would be forced off a few minutes later though, coming off worst after a 50/50 in the Danish box, sparking a double substitution with Scott Banks and Mark Leonard coming on for Williamson and Josh Doig.
Scotland would continue to look for an equaliser with little joy, leaving Gemmill’s side still looking for their first win of the campaign with a home double-header against Kazakhstan and Belgium coming up next month.
Scotland: Slicker, Ashby, Doig, Mayo, Welsh, Florini, Middleton, Kelly, Burroughs, Montgomery, Williamson
Subs: Sinclair, Clayton, Banks, Scott, Leonard, High, Mebude, Stretton, Kennedy
Denmark: Hermansen, Carstensen, Hausner, Sery, Kristiansen, Kjærgaard, Nartey, Lindstrom, Isaksen, Jensen, Bøving Vick
Subs: Ross, Kaufmann, Tengstedt, Frendrup, Pedersen, Dyhr, Villadsen, Warming, Bidstrup
Referee: Rade Obrenovic
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