Scotland Under-21s take down Kazakhstan as return of big hitters pays dividend

The hosts maintain Euro 2025 hopes with straightforward win at SMiSA Stadium

Scotland Under-21s kept themselves firmly in the mix for Euro 2025 qualification with a comfortable 4-1 win over Kazakhstan in Paisley.

Scot Gemmill’s side – buoyed by the return of several key players – laid the foundations for their victory with a clinical three-goal burst in the first half. The Scots have now won four and drawn one of their last five qualifiers and are locked together on the 13-point mark with Spain and Belgium at the top of Group B, although the Spaniards have a game in hand.

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The loss of Liverpool winger Ben Doak to injury since Scotland’s last meet-up in November was offset by the return of Sassuolo left-back Josh Doig, Bayern Munich defender Liam Morrison, Sturm Graz right-back Max Johnston, Manchester City midfielder Lewis Fiorini and Bristol City forward Tommy Conway, all of whom went straight back into the starting XI.

Scotland's Lewis Fiorini scores to make it 4-0 against Kazakhstan.Scotland's Lewis Fiorini scores to make it 4-0 against Kazakhstan.
Scotland's Lewis Fiorini scores to make it 4-0 against Kazakhstan.

The hosts tested Kazakh keeper Temirlan Anarbekov twice in the opening quarter of an hour, with Conway denied from close range and then Fiorini trying his luck from the edge of the box. The visitors’ resistance was broken in the 19th minute, however, when Connor Barron sliced his attempted shot from outside the box into the path of Doig on the left and the former Hibs and Verona full-back side-stepped his man before rasping a magnificent angled shot high into the net from 12 yards out.

Scotland doubled their advantage five minutes later when Lyall Cameron drilled a crisp low strike from the edge of the box after being teed up by Kieron Bowie. Kazakhstan had a couple of wayward strikes from distance in the first half but they were generally on the back foot. Anarbekov was called upon to make two excellent saves within the space of three minutes to deny Conway and then the impressive Bowie. But the keeper was caught out in the 37th minute when he raced from his goal and fouled Conway as the striker tried to get on the end of a ball over the top from Leon King. Conway calmly sent Anarberkov the wrong way from the spot.

The hosts notched their fourth of the evening 10 minutes after the break when Conway’s low cross from the left was tucked away from six yards out by Fiorini. Kazakhstan got themselves a goal back in the 67th minute when Yan Trufanov coolly chipped in a penalty after Ibane Bowat was deemed to have fouled substitute Danil Ankudinov, but the Scots saw the game out in comfortable fashion to leave themselves with all to play for ahead of their four remaining qualifiers in September and October.

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