Azerbaijan U21 0 - 4 Scotland U21: Murphy lays down the law as Scots move into qualifying pole position

Azerbaijan U21 0 - 4 Scotland U21

JAMIE Murphy, scorer of a last-gasp winner in Scotland's previous qualifier at home to Belarus, continued his impressive form with a double as Scotland moved to the top of European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group 10 with a comfortable victory in the Azerbaijani capital Baku.

The Motherwell striker opened the scoring after 26 minutes following a low cross from Celtic's Paul Caddis, and Billy Stark's men had breathing space when Falkirk starlet Scott Arfield added a second ten minutes later.

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Nine minutes after the break, Murphy received a pass in his own half and sprinted away from two defenders before putting the contest to bed and should have completed his hat-trick before second-half substitutes Leigh Griffiths and Rory Loy combined for the latter to score seven minutes from time.

The victory, coupled with Austria's 2-2 draw in Armenia on Friday, lifts Stark's Scotland squad two points clear with five matches played although Belarus can match the leaders' tally if they win their game in hand away to Albania on Tuesday night.

England under-21 captain Micah Richards has vowed to play his way into Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.

The Manchester City right-back led the young England squad to a 1-0 victory over Portugal in their European Championship qualifier at Wembley yesterday.

However, the 21-year-old has yet to feature under the Capello regime as the Italian coach guided England through to next summer's finals in South Africa – even when the squad for the friendly against Brazil in Qatar was hit by defensive problems which instead prompted a call for Aston Villa full-back Luke Young, who declined the offer.

However, Richards remains determined to prove himself all over again.

The man who has won 11 England caps, the last of which came in November 2007, said: "The World Cup is still my dream.

"It has been hard over the last two years, but all I can do is my best.

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"There have been a lot of changes at Man City, new faces coming in, but it is always nice to come away with the under-21s and get 90 minutes under my belt."