The young Scots needed to beat Norway in Lippstadt and hope Holland would take at least a point in the group’s other match last night against the hosts. And it looked like Scotland would keep their side of the bargain as an incredible transformation after the break saw them go 4-2 ahead after a classy double from Rangers midfielder Glenn Middleton, a penalty from Celtic’s Jack Aitchison and a goal from Parkhead team-mate Kerr McInroy.
It wouldn’t have been enough to qualify anyway because Germany thrashed Holland 4-1 in the other game and the Scots would have gone out on the head-to-head record against the hosts.
But they collapsed in the final moments and former Manchester City and Leeds United star Alf-Inge Haland’s son, Erling Haland, netted a hat-trick, as Rangers defender Aidan Wilson was sent off after two bookings for conceding two penalties.
Norway topped the group and will be going to this summer’s finals in Finland but Scotland manager Donald Park was delighted with his youngsters’ efforts this week.
He said: “Talk about rollercoaster football. The disappointing thing for us was that we actually lost that game of football.
“We were great after the break and scored four great goals. Norway threw caution to the wind, battered the ball up the park and we didn’t deal with it. I couldn’t see us losing another goal, let alone three, because we were in control. We conceded two dubious penalties and at least one of their goals looked offside, but there you go.
“It’s been a great experience and the players have been great. I couldn’t have asked any more of them and I’m proud of them all.”
Scotland’s comeback after the interval was hugely impressive, with Middleton netting with two superb finishes.
At one stage, Scotland – who desperately missed the suspended Fraser Hornby – were going through because the Germans were being held by Holland But the Norwegians kept going to the end and Scotland couldn’t handle battering-ram striker Haland, of Molde, who has been tipped for a move to England.