Scotland Under-21s suffered another defeat in their Euro qualifiers in Scot Gemmill’s first match in charge in awful conditions in Iceland, but his new-look side could have taken something if Oliver McBurnie had converted a second-half penalty.
Gemmill started eight new faces and handed further debuts to his three subs, but in a force nine gale and driving rain, his young Scots went down to a couple of second-half goals, with McBurnie seeing his spot-kick saved in between the goals.
Scotland competed well against the nation whose Euro 2016 heroics thrilled a continent and matched a young Icelandic side who top a group including France. And Gemmill was proud of his group’s efforts.
He said: “The scoreline was hard on them because we played very well for large parts. Of course there were mistakes but playing in those conditions there are going to be mistakes.
“I was pleased tactically and how intelligently their application was at this level. There were a lot of debuts and we can go home with a lot of positives.
“We’re disappointed to lose and at the end I was concerned we might concede again. That would have been really undeserved. If we’d scored that penalty, the game would have changed.”
After the game passed an inspection, Scotland were undone less than two minutes into the second half through a simple strike when Aron Thrandarson was allowed too much space and he volleyed past keeper Ryan Fulton.
But, Scotland missed a golden opportunity to level four minutes later when McBurnie was uprooted in the box by Icelandic keeper Runar Runarsson.
McBurnie took the spot-kick himself but Runarsson made a terrific save to redeem himself.
Iceland doubled their advantage in the 66th minute when striker Elias Omarsson burst into the box and finished with the outside of his boot.
Liam Henderson nearly handed Scotland a lifeline with a vicious effort from 25 yards that cracked off the woodwork, but they couldn’t find a way back.