Russell refuses to dwell on missed chance at end of whirlwind week

DUNDEE United’s Johnny Russell ended a whirlwind week with an agonising miss, but he insisted he will learn from the experience.

The striker was called up by Craig Levein for Scotland’s 5-1 defeat in the USA last week before travelling back to Europe and on to Bulgaria with Billy Stark’s Under 21s.

The young Scots conceded a last-gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw, but Russell was guilty of wasting a glaring opportunity when the game was goalless. With an open goal at his mercy, he delayed his shot, which he eventually scuffed so badly that a Bulgarian defender was able to kick the ball clear.

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However, Russell reckons he has gleaned a lot from the events of the week and is eager to get more international action. He missed a similar chance for his club at the start of the season in Europe against Slask Wraclow, but is not one to dwell on it.

Russell said: “I’m a bit knackered to be honest – I’ve still not got my sleep back, but I always knew it was going to be like that. With my miss, I just went to take a touch and the keeper slightly nudged me and that put me off balance and I kind of scuffed my shot, but I should really have scored that and the one before that as well.

“I thought it might have been one of those ones because we dominated until then and that was a bit of a sucker punch and I just felt if we hadn’t got the goal back I would have been gutted for myself and gutted for the boys.

“In Poland, I went round the keeper and missed there as well, so I’m making a habit of doing that! You’re going to miss chances, that’s just the way it is.

“The trip to the States was brilliant, but the game put a bit of a downer on it. I was just glad to come here [to Bulgaria] and get a game with the boys.

“It was great to see how it works at that level and I took a lot from it, the way the training was and the way everyone conducted themselves.”

Russell enjoyed a terrific season for United, but was still stunned when he got the call from Levein.

He said: “It was a massive confidence boost for me to get it and I’m very grateful that I was called up. It was massively daunting. I was excited and when you get there and see everyone, it does set you back a little bit, but like I said, I was just absolutely buzzing to get the call. I never expected to play when I went out or play any part, so to be on the bench was really good for me.”

Meanwhile, the Netherlands reclaimed top spot in Scotland’s Under- 21 European Championship qualifying group following a 5-0 win in Luxembourg last night. The Dutch are now three points clear of the second-placed Scots in Group 10.