Stark sees positives in ‘tight’ squad

Scotland Under-21s coach Billy Stark has no concerns over numbers, despite travelling to Greece with just 16 fit players.

Stark originally named a squad of 18 for tonight’s friendly in Korinthos, but was hit by call-offs ahead of the trip.

Wigan’s Fraser Fyvie, Stefan Scougall of Livingston, Hearts duo Jason Holt and David Smith plus Dundee’s Lewis Toshney were all forced to withdraw through injury, with late call-ups for Motherwell’s Fraser Kerr and Hearts’ Callum Tapping.

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Stark said: “We are a wee bit tight with numbers but it depends where you are in the building process. We’ve had the game in Portugal and we had a couple of games in Malaga.

“We’re at the stage now, going into a championship game, that I wouldn’t want to have a whole big squad of players to try to fit in. You want players to get plenty of game-time to see how they look.”

He added: “We knew about Fraser Fyvie after he pulled his hamstring in the FA Cup tie last week, so we were always 
doubtful that he would make it.

“I saw Stefan getting the injury on Saturday and I saw David Smith getting the hamstring injury on Sunday so I knew right away. We are quite comfortable with the ones we’ve got.

“We’re excited for Stuart 
Bannigan, Stephen O’Donnell and Callum Tapping to get an opportunity. Rory McKenzie is another new one. It means when we go into the championship game in six week’s time, we’ve blooded another couple of players that, if needed, are there for us.”

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