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Scot Gemmill reacts to a straightforward win over Kazakhstan

Thursday night saw Scotland U21s cruise to a 4-1 victory over Kazakhstan at The SMiSA stadium, taking them level on points with group leaders Spain on 13 points. These are Scot Gemmill’s key takeaways, as his side continues their push towards the finals in Slovakia.

Gemmill expressed his delight with the result achieved on Thursday night, praising the quality of the Kazakhs, who had made the long trip to Paisley.

He said: “We are happy to get a good win against really difficult opposition if you look at their previous results and how hard they have been to beat.”

The Scotland gaffer also acknowledged that it was a whole 4 months to the day that his side was last in action, a goalless draw in Hungary back in November.

“The timing of the game too, after not playing since November and then not [Playing any EURO qualifying matches] again until this September,” he added. “It was an important game in many aspects, and we’ve come through, so really pleased.”

Scot Gemmill was questioned on how the electric first 45 stacked up against some of his team’s best-attacking performances across his tenure as Scotland boss, bringing a three-goal lead into the break.

“Yeah, I would agree,” he said. “I think you could see that we’d got a few players that we didn’t have at the end of last year, and I think you could also see the level. I felt as if they [Kazakhstan] actually started very well, they didn’t play as we expected them to, they obviously had three in midfield, and we thought they’d probably not have three in midfield.

“I thought the actual first few minutes of the game, possibly even the first 10 minutes we didn’t have control but after that definitely [we] had control and had a lot of chances to score, so really pleasing.” 

When questioned Gemmill certainly didn’t shy away from highlighting the importance of Scotland’s win, expressing that it is no less important for the development of Scotland’s future stars than playing some of the best in Europe.

“In my opinion, these games in terms of their development are equally as important as playing Spain or Belgium because we all know you have to beat teams like this and it’s not easy,” he said. “They [Scotland] have shown that they can do it and that it is about attitude and mentality as well as talent, and it was on show so, good.”

One of the burning questions many Tartan Army fans will have been if goal scorers on Thursday, Tommy Conway and Josh Doig, have any chance of being an outside shot for the senior Euros in Germany this summer, Scot Gemmill was presented with this query by the media after Thursday’s win.

“Yep, they’ve been great all week and they know exactly the situation. They know that they are close [to the senior squad] and that anything could happen, but they need to not just play well for us but also keep playing well for their clubs.

 “I’ve just said that to them, thanked them for the week and you are sending them back to their club really urging them to finish the season strongly.

“The challenge to them as young players because they are all obviously at different stages: some of them are probably playing for new contracts, some of them may be playing for a transfer, some of them may be trying to get into the team at their respective clubs and some of them are obviously establishing themselves at their clubs so they need to go back and finish the season strongly.”

With Gemmill’s team out of action, until they line up for a key, top-of-the-group clash with Spain in just over 5 months’ time, The media were keen to know whether some summer friendlies were on the horizon, to get the team ready for an important run in.

“Yeah definitely,” he said. “We are working very hard to do that, I’m confident the two games are now agreed, and you can get your flights booked!”

The Scotland boss is no stranger to the size of the task in qualifying for the EUROs that awaits his team, this would mean qualification for a major tournament for the first time since 1996, following in the footsteps of the senior team who achieved the same feat in 2020.

He said: “Yeah in terms of qualification, of course, it is brilliant that we are in the position that we are in, I don’t really look at the table but of course, I am aware of the results that we have had, but it [qualification] is very difficult and we have to just keep going game by game because to qualify for the finals you almost have to be perfect in qualification.

“This age group is about developing young players, but I completely understand everybody wants to see the team do well, we all do so it’s great that we can look forward to the remaining games.”

It was a successful evening for Scotland’s u21s as a fluid, attacking display gave them good value for their position, refusing to make way for European powerhouses: Spain and Belgium at the very top of group B. In years gone by, hopes of qualifying may very well have diminished by this stage, but Gemmill’s words of praise and encouragement for his team on Thursday evening reflect exactly why we should be excited for the future of Scottish Football.

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