Stuart Armstrong stays upbeat despite Scots loss

Holland U21s' Tonny Trindade De Vilhena, right, tries to keep possession from Stuart Armstrong. Picture: SNS
Holland U21s' Tonny Trindade De Vilhena, right, tries to keep possession from Stuart Armstrong. Picture: SNS
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STUART Armstrong will not let a calamitous end to his season spoil an otherwise positive campaign.

The 22-year-old Dundee United midfielder took his game up another notch with the Tannadice side and 11 goals underpinned his nomination for the PFA Scotland young player of the year award.

However, the Scotland Under-21 skipper was still smarting from United’s 2-0 William Hill Scottish Cup final defeat by St Johnstone at Celtic Park earlier in the month when further distress came in the shape of a 6-1 hammering by Holland Under-21s at St Mirren Park on Wednesday night.

The defeat effectively ended any hopes of qualifying for next year’s European Championship finals but Armstrong will not allow any negatives to linger as he begins a well-earned summer break.

“Obviously it is disappointing to end the season on such a low but that’s football and there are lots of ups and downs,” he said.

“A couple of games doesn’t make a season so overall I am very pleased with my contribution.

“It has been a tough season certainly, I have played a lot of games but overall I look back on the season and I’m pleased with how I did.

“I scored more goals which I wanted to do.

“Next season? Keep adding goals to my game, try to beat this season’s tally and then try to get to a cup final again.

“But it is now about having a bit of rest and relaxation before next season starts and then focusing on that one.”

However, it may take Armstrong, like the rest of Billy Stark’s youngsters, more than a few weeks to get over their crushing defeat by the Dutch.

Stark accurately described Holland as “bigger, quicker, stronger” before he even touched on the gulf in talent between the two sides.

The Scots, who had to win their final three fixtures to give them a chance of qualifying according to their coach, started brightly enough but found themselves 3-0 down at the break thanks to a hat-trick of impressive finishes by FC Twente winger Quincy Promes.

Manchester City defender Karim Rekik - who spent last season on loan at PSV - made it 4-0 early in the second-half and a quick-fire brace from substitute Hakim Ziyech made it six before Stevie May scored a late consolation.

Stark’s side, who had lost 4-0 when they played Holland in September, remain in fourth place in Group 3, six points behind leaders Holland and Slovakia.

The Scots could still make second place but with a points tally unlikely to give them a play-off place as one of the four best runners-up.

Armstrong said: “You never like a heavy defeat and we have had a few of those this season.

“But they are a quality team. They have more strength in depth and they showed that and sometimes you need to put your hands up and say they were the better team.”