Ben Doak the star attraction as Liverpool youngster shines despite Scotland Under-21s defeat to Iceland

This may have been a makeshift side, with several Scotland players brought in at this level for the first time, but it was still one comprising quality.

Scotland's Ben Doak tries to get away from Iceland's Olafur Gudmundsson during the Under-21 friendly at Fir Park.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Scotland's Ben Doak tries to get away from Iceland's Olafur Gudmundsson during the Under-21 friendly at Fir Park. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

That showed in the first half as they conjured up plenty of chances to put real daylight between themselves and their Icelandic guests. It was even more evident when they carved out the opening goal after half an hour.

But, there is a lesson to be learned as Scot Gemmill’s side failed to take the other opportunities that came their way and were left kicking themselves as David Snorri Jonasson’s visitors came back strongly in the second period to overhaul the home side and earn victory.

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Middlesbrough's Hayden Hackney, Alex Lowry of Rangers, Motherwell's Max Johnston, who is on loan at Cove Rangers, and Ibane Bowat of Fulham all started for the first time. But the main attraction was Liverpool starlet Ben Doak.

The 17-year-old has captured headlines after making the breakthrough at Anfield and his confident running and general awareness throughout the first half allowed him to stand out. He wasn’t the only one as Scotland looked at ease and the only surprise at the interval was that Scotland only had the one-goal advantage. That came after half an hour.

Scotland had posed a real threat on the counter attack with some precise passing and pace to unlock the Iceland backline and when Johnston galloped forward from his right-back berth, he found support in the shape of Doak. Slipping the ball to the Liverpool man, Johnston continued his run and when Doak got past two defenders and lifted his head he played the perfect cutback for Johnston to run onto and slam into the net.

He had come close with a similar move earlier in the half, but was just wide, and Doak, who has pace to burn, had also forced a couple of saves from Adam Ingi Benediktsson.

On top throughout that 45 minutes, Lowry provided the ammunition from the left flank and Tommy Conway was denied from a tight angle at the near post.

At the other end, Connor McAvoy and Liam Morrison did a solid job of marshalling any Iceland incursion and protecting Jude Smith in the Scotland goal.

Kristall Mani Ingasson caused the most problems, though, hinting at what was to come after the break. But it was Danijel Dejan Djuric who finally did enough to demand a save from Smith.

If the first half had been a bit of a stroll the second half set Scotland back on their heels as they were faced with an Icelandic team with a greater sense of purpose.

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That translated into an equaliser in the 47th minute, Ingasson had two attempts, the first blocked by Bayern Munich’s Morrison but the second squirmed inside the post. There were claims for offside but Djuric, in a poachers position, was aware enough to simply watch it cross the line.

The second came from the penalty spot after Hackney was caught on the ball and felled down Kristofer Jonsson as he tried to retrieve the situation.

Scotland battled to come back but Connor Smith’s effort was blocked and McAvoy’s strike was cleared off the line, as the home side were left to rue the chances passed up in the first half.



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