Oliver Burke’s wondergoal was not enough to stop the Scotland side he captained falling to an opening game defeat in the Toulon Tournament.
The £13 million Red Bull Leipzig youngster – Scotland’s most expensive player – was selected for the prestigious tournament in France by Gordon Strachan instead of the World Cup showdown with England and he took just 90 seconds to make his presence felt with a superb solo goal.
Burke added another from the penalty spot in the second half, but the Czechs deservedly won after taking advantage of shoddy Scots defending as Scot Gemmill’s side crashed to defeat in their first appearance in the tournament for 20 years.
Gemmill was full of praise for Burke, who played as a striker, before limping off with an ankle knock late on. However, he was disappointed with the youngsters’ defending.
Gemmill said: “You can see what a threat Oliver Burke is. It was good to see him play striker where we think he can really hurt the opposition.
“He showed that and towards the end he got hurt and had to come off. It’s one where you just have to let the doctors assess him and reassess him the next morning.
“But the team know we have to be able to defend our goal.This is the first time this team has been together. You could see the Czech side are a good team that has been together and has been successful
“They create and score but you can’t get away from the fact that, if you concede three, you’ll struggle.”
The young Scots faced extremely humid conditions in the Stade D’Honneur in Salon-de-Provence against a Czech side who were using the event as preparation for the Euro Under-19 Finals in Georgia next month.
And the Scots got off to a quite sensational start after just 90 seconds. A booted clearance from Zak Jules was stolen by Burke on the halfway line with a header in front of the defender. What followed was a brilliant display of power and pace from the Bundesliga kid.
He sprinted clear, shrugged off the challenge of two Czech defenders before slotting the coolest of finishes past the keeper to get Scotland off to a flier.
Aberdeen wide man Scott Wright hobbled off with a hamstring injury early in the game to be replaced by Kilmarnock’s Adam Frizzell.
The Czechs pinned the Scots back for the remainder of the half as Gemmill’s kids struggled to make any further impact and the deserved equaliser arrived with five minutes to go to half time .
Scotland continually failed to clear a deflected free kick and Ondrej Chveja eventually tucked the loose ball away.
The young Scots then found themselves 2-1 down just 40 seconds after the restart when their defence was caught napping.
Martin Graiciar had time to cut in from the left and square the ball for Czech skipper Ondrej Sasinka to easily net from close range.
But the Scots, with SFA Performance Director Malky Mackay taking a prominent role on the bench, were gifted a way back into the game in the 55th minute when Chveja needlessly handled in his own box. Burke thumped the resulting penalty into the net in emphatic style.
However, sScotland’s defensive woes came back to haunt them five minutes later when Martin Graiciar was allowed to slalom his way past a static Scots central defence before picking his spot past Wolves keeper Jack Ruddy.
Rangers’ Ryan Hardie had a chance to snatch a draw in injury time when sent through on goal, but Czech keeper Jan Plachy made a brilliant reaction save.