All to play for as 21s shock Holland on their patch

Billy STARK hopes an impressive victory in Holland will reinforce his attempts to instil confidence in his Scotland Under-21 players.

The young Scots produced an accomplished second-half display in Nijmegen to secure a 2-1 qualifying victory against a country who have won two of the last four European Under-21 Championships.

Goalscorers Jordan Rhodes and David Wotherspoon both came close to extending the lead with spectacular efforts and Scotland survived some belated pressure to end their hosts’ 100 per cent record.

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Scotland are unbeaten but needed a result after drawing at home to both Bulgaria and Austria.

Stark said: “We have got great confidence in them and we are trying to instil that in them. It’s not just flannel, we do have confidence in them.

“You can talk and talk about good performances but when you get a significant result and performance like that, that’s a tremendous shortcut towards achieving that.

“Certainly we’re not getting carried away. We have pegged Holland back a bit but if Bulgaria win tonight they go above us.”

Rhodes headed home after 60 seconds following great wing play by James Forrest but Scotland were pegged back in the 12th minute when goalkeeper Mark Ridgers dropped Adam Maher’s long free-kick and the assistant referee controversially ruled it had crossed the line.

But Stark was delighted with the way the Hearts goalkeeper bounced back and Ridgers felt he had settled well. The 21-year-old said: “I tried to catch it under the bar. I think it hit the crossbar and what happened after that, I don’t know but the linesman gave the goal.

“You just have to get on with it, as a goalkeeper these things happen. You have to stay positive and during the game I think I recovered well. It’s part of the learning process.”

The victory moved unbeaten Scotland into second place, one point behind the Dutch after four games.

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Stark added: “I said to the boys in the build-up to the game that there was a fair responsibility on their shoulders because we were to play Holland in the next two games.

“If Holland had won the two games, with five wins under their belt, they are just about home and dry. The rest of us could forget it.

“Bulgaria and Austria will be delighted as well. They will feel they are in with as much of a chance as anyone.”