Celtic winger Mikey Johnston saw an injury time penalty saved as Scot Gemmill’s new-look Scotland Under-21 side almost snatched what would have been a highly credible victory over Mexico in a friendly in Marbella.
Gemmill’s squad are in Spain to prepare for the Euro qualifiers which start later this year and the coach handed debuts to Barry Maguire, Jake Hastie, Jamie Brandon and Kyle McAllister.
This was Mexico’s Under-22 Olympic squad, but Scotland matched their older opponents. Gemmill was satisfied with the draw. “It was good to see because we are working with a new age group and that the players executed a perfect game plan,” he said. “There is no point in preparing the team if they are not willing to do the work.
“It confirmed what we already know and that we are working with players who are clever enough to understand the tactics and absorb the information given to them and put it into practice. We could have been better in possession in the first half and lesser teams would have conceded, but credit to them for weathering that storm and showing real maturity and resilience.”
The Scots were pinned back for the majority of the first half, with Celtic keeper Ross Doohan making fine saves from Paolo Yrizar and Ronaldo Cisneros.
Scotland improved considerably after the break and Rangers midfielder Ross McCrorie came close with a hooked volley.
The Scots’ chance at the end came when Mexican sub keeper Jose Hernandez made a mess of a passback, took an extra touch and was robbed by Scots sub Ben House who he brought down. But Hernandez made a fine save from Johnston’s spot kick.