Stark to Scots under-21s: ‘Forget England loss’

SCOTLAND Under-21 head coach Billy Stark will focus on making amends for their thrashing by England when they return to competitive action next week.

Scotland U21s' manager Billy Stark. Picture: SNS
Scotland U21s' manager Billy Stark. Picture: SNS
Scotland U21s' manager Billy Stark. Picture: SNS

The young Scots were beaten 6-0 at Bramall Lane in a scoreline no-one saw coming after some consistent performances under Stark.

Scotland face the Netherlands in Nijmegen next Thursday in their second qualifier for the 2015 European Under-21 Championship having taken four points out of six from the Dutch in their previous campaign.

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Stark will attempt to lift his players back up following the disappointment in Sheffield.

“When you are as old as me and you have been in the game as long, you take a few dunts,” the 56-year-old said.

“That was a big dunt, no doubt about it.

“But you learn from experience that it’s gone. You can’t pretend it didn’t happen. But the only thing we can do is show people we are going to be positive in everything we do and we are trying to make amends.

“Because the disappointing part is that there were people there to support Scotland and feel they are the ones we let down in a big way.

“But the players will feel they let themselves down because they know they are better than they showed that night.”

Stark did not have the chance to lift the players after the game given they went their separate ways but he feels most have bounced back.

“You watch them with their clubs after it and I think you could maybe see the effects of it with one or two,” he said.

“But I think in the main they went back and picked up their club form. Stuart Armstrong has scored in the last couple of [Dundee United] games after having an uncharacteristically poor game against England.

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“That will help, that they have got it out of their systems with their clubs. We have to make sure they bond together again and use that experience.

“It’s difficult to know what you learn out of that, but sometimes you learn a wee bit about yourself and how you react to it.

“I’ll be looking for them to be positive in everything they do.”

Stark has made three changes to his squad with Chelsea forward Islam Feruz rested and Hearts pair Brad McKay and David Smith also dropping out.

Their Tynecastle team-mate, Callum Paterson, is called up along with Hibernian winger Daniel Handling and Fulham defender Jack Grimmer.


Goalkeepers: Jordan Archer (Tottenham Hotspur); Jack Hamilton (Hearts); Christopher Kettings (Blackpool).

Defenders: Stuart Findlay (Celtic); Jack Grimmer (Fulham); Ryan Jack (Aberdeen); Kevin McHattie (Hearts); Clark Robertson (Aberdeen).

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Dundee United); Stuart Bannigan (Partick Thistle); Fraser Fyvie (Wigan Athletic); Daniel Handling (Hibernian); Jason Holt (Hearts); Lewis Macleod (Rangers); Dylan McGeouch (Celtic).

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Forwards: Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth); Stevie May (St Johnstone); Callum Paterson (Hearts); Jamie Walker (Hearts); Tony Watt (Celtic).