SCOTLAND crashed to their second successive heavy Under 21 defeat, but the Dutch were hugely flattered by the result after Billy Stark’s kids missed a host of chances in Nijmegen.
Scorers: T de Vilhena (52), Castaignos (69), Van der Hoorn (74), Drost (78)
Referee: Paolo Valeri (Italy)
The young Scots could and should have been a couple of goals up by the interval. Stuart Armstrong, Tony Watt and Ryan Fraser all missed one-on-one situations with the goalkeeper and Celtic’s Stuart Findlay headed against the post.
But they were made to pay for those missed chances when the clinical Dutch dismantled them with four second-half goals. Scotland have now lost ten goals in their last two games after that 6-0 disaster against England last month. However, this wasn’t comparable to that display and Scotland could easily have taken at least a point in this European Championship qualifier.
Scotland defeated Holland last time they played here in November 2011 and they could easily have been celebrating a similar victory if they had converted those chances. But they were dealt a harsh lesson in not taking their chances against this kind of quality opposition.
Stark couldn’t believe the magnitude of defeat, pointing out: “It was an injustice and if I evaluate the performance then I couldn’t be happier. We didn’t deserve that and could make a case for getting something out of the game, as ridiculous as that may sound when you look at the scoreline. We should have been ahead at half-time on chances made, and showed a continental style of play.
“We are going through a spell just now which is really tough. Holland are favourites to win our group so nothing has changed that much as we knew this game was always going to be difficult.”
Scotland were inches away from netting a superb opener in the 20th minute following an excellent counter-attack when Armstrong and Fraser Fyvie combined to send Fraser skipping down the left. He teed up Watt with only the ’keeper to beat and although Hahn saved his shot, it rebounded back off his team-mate Stefano Denswill and trickled inches wide of target. Then the Scots missed the chance of the half in the 33rd minute when Armstrong robbed Holland’s Kyle Ebecilio and was clean through on goal. He was under pressure from a posse of chasing Dutch defenders, but outran them and had just the ’keeper to beat when he pushed the ball over the bar.
It took Holland just seven minutes after the break to punish Scotland for those misses when they took the lead. A misplaced pass by Jason Holt put his team in trouble, but there was a real touch of fortune in the opener when Chelsea’s Marco van Ginkel was tackled in the box by Jordan McGhee and the ball fell perfectly for Feyenoord’s Tony Trinidade de Vilhena to nudge the ball at the target and it spun over the head of Archer.
Yet there was time for Scotland to miss another great opportunity when Ryan Jack threaded a brilliant pass to Fraser with only the ’keeper to beat, but his placed shot was well saved by the legs of Dordrecht ’keeper Hahn. From the resulting corner, Findlay headed against the woodwork.
The Dutch doubled their advantage when FC Twente striker Luc Castaignos fired past Archer after a one-two in the box in the 69th minute. The home side added two more late goals as the Scots were visibly tiring in the Netherlands heat, with Mike van der Hoorn and sub Jesper Drost netting.
It was desperately harsh on Scotland.
Netherlands U21: Hahn, Ligeon, Van der Hoorn, Denswil, Koppers, Ebecilio (Drost 69), Promes, Trindade de Vilhena, Van Ginkel (Sporkslede 86), Castaignos, Depay (Slagveer 78). Subs not used: Brenet, Ake, Van Der Hart, Locadia.
Scotland U21: Archer, Jack, McGhee, Findlay, Robertson, Fyvie (Macleod 77), McGeouch, Holt, Watt (May 54), Armstrong, Fraser (Paterson 77). Subs not used: Kettings, McHattie, Grimmer, Walker.