ADAM KING missed a second-half penalty as Scotland’s kids were frustrated in the opening game of their Euro Elite Group in England.
Scotland’s youngsters dominated against the Ukrainians, but missed a host of chances and couldn’t make the breakthrough in Burton on Trent last night.
They should have opened the four-team tournament with a win and Scottish captain King’s spot-kick miss may well come back to haunt them.
Ricky Sbragia’s youngsters now have to pick themselves up to face hosts England tomorrow at the same venue after the Auld Enemy got their campaign off to the perfect start by crushing Montenegro 6-0 in the group’s other game.
A torrential downpour before the game made conditions tricky, but the Scots started very brightly and Celtic’s Liam Henderson had an ambitious crack at goal in the opening period, only to see the ball sailing over.
The Celtic midfielder was closer though in the 13th minute when he curled an effort just wide of target after Cammy Smith drove forward from midfield to set him up.
King came close to opening the scoring after 20 minutes when he crashed a 25-yard effort just wide with Ukraine keeper Roman Pidkivka beaten.
Scotland missed a great chance five minutes later when Smith’s cross was flicked on by Denny Johnstone and Henderson left the ball for Ryan Gauld with only the keeper to beat, but the Dundee United wonderkid’s effort was weak and straight at the keeper from just ten yards out.
Celtic striker Johnstone forced a save from Pidkivka and Gauld came close to making amends when he took hold of the rebound and skipped through, only to be denied by a diving save from the busy Ukrainian keeper.
And he frustrated the Scots again in the 33rd minute when his outstretched foot kept out a low Henderson shot after Rangers defender Ryan Sinnamon had crossed from the right.
Then Johnstone headed a Henderson free kick over as Scotland continued to fail to take their chances.
And they nearly paid for those misses before the break when Ukraine almost netted with their first couple of attacks of the match when Yevhen Chumak’s free kick whizzed just wide, before Roman Yaremchuk hit the post with a cross and Maksym Banasevych somehow volleyed the rebound wide right in front of goal.
It would have been a travesty if the Scots had gone behind at the interval, but it was a warning.
And Scotland missed the biggest chance of the lot eight minutes after the break when King missed a penalty.
Gauld – who was increasingly becoming an influence – was tripped by Pavlo Lukyanchuk as he darted into the box, giving King the chance to net from the spot. But the Swansea City youngster’s spot kick was very poor and keeper Pidkivka easily saved it.
In fairness, the miss didn’t really deflate the Scots and Gauld flashed a shot just wide.
Scotland continued to press for a deserved winner, but simply couldn’t find a way through a well-organised and disciplined Ukrainian defence and had to settle for a point in a frustrating evening.