Scotland have one foot in the European Under-17 Championships following a 1-0 win over Serbia at St Mirren Park. Glenn Middleton’s goal midway through the first half was enough to give the home side the victory in a tight match with chances few and far between.
The game got off to a slow start, both sides struggling to get a good passing move together. Scotland’s front three of Middleton, Jack Aitchison, and Zak Rudden were playing too close together, all being dragged down the Serbian’s left. Rudden, who was playing wide right, was forced deep often to cover the runs of Dimitrije Kamenovic and Zeljko Gavric.
It took 17 minutes for either side to register an effort on goal, and it was Serbia’s Filip Stuparevic with a shot over the bar from outside the area. But just as Serbia looked to be making headway into the Scotland half, they were hit by a quick counter attack which proved to be devastating.
The pacey Middleton was involved in breaking away and winning a corner and when Elliot Watt sent it deep to the back post, Kerr McInroy had the time and presence of mind to bring it down and pick out Middleton on the edge of the box. A touch to open up his body and make the space and another to find the bottom corner past Milos Gordic. 1-0. It was his second goal in two matches following his effort against Montenegro on Friday.
Serbia almost caught Scotland cold from the restart, Stuparevic getting only the slightest of touches to Milutin Vidosavljevic’s cross and failing to find the net from a little over six-yards.
Having avoided the scare, Scotland managed to carve a couple of half chances themselves. McInroy blazed over after Rudden’s driving run had opened up Serbia’s defence, and Middleton forced a good save from Gordic after the Scot’s winger’s pace had put him through.
Crosses seemed to be Serbia’s most likely route to goal and they had their best opportunity of the match just before half-time when Gavric’s cross found Kamenovic, the full-back covering a large amount of ground to put himself in a position to equalise, but he somehow contrived to put it over the bar, the Scottish defence deserving credit for putting him off.