Scotland need a point against France on Tuesday to qualify for the quarter-finals of the European Under-17s finals after being held by Hungary yesterday in Croatia.
Scot Gemmill’s side are now unbeaten in eight games in their qualifying section and the finals, but they had to defend for their lives for large chunks of the match in Lucko after a superb free-kick from Hungary had cancelled out a first-half strike from Rangers’ Zak Rudden.
Hungary – who defeated France in their first game at the finals – will win the group if they defeat the Faroe Islands, who were hammered by France 7-0 earlier yesterday.
Scotland would go through to the quarter-finals too if they can draw or beat the French on Tuesday in Velika Gorica.
Under-17 manager Gemmill was full of praise for his players, who dug out the point against a talented Magyar side.
He said: “It was a really high level game. It was impressive to play with that intensity and intelligence, and to have that experience.
“The players deserve a lot of credit. So do Hungary. You could see they are a very good team with very good players.
“When you come to the finals you know you are going to be in that kind of game. We’d expect the French to throw everything at us in the next game.
“But this group have shown they are resilient. They are willing to go in where it hurts and they have a bit of quality as well.”
Scotland were gifted a lead in the 31st minute. A free-kick from Rangers’ Jordan Houston was spilled by Hungarian keeper Balazs Asvanyi – who was their hero in their win against France – and that left Rudden, pictured, with a simple task of knocking the ball into an empty net.
Celtic defender Stephen Welsh, who was excellent yesterday, acrobatically headed off his own line before the break and after the interval, it quickly turned into a backs against the wall job for the Scots. And it was no surprise when the Hungarians grabbed a deserved leveller six minutes into the second half through a supremely struck 25-yard free-kick from their Stoke City youngster Krisztofer Szerto.
But Scotland fought back and a superb run by Norwich City’s Glenn Middleton set up a chance for Rudden and he adjusted himself to stab a back heel on target, however it was scrambled away by the Hungarians and both sides had to settle for a point.