Scot Gemmill flattered by Partick link but focused on Scotland U21s

Scot Gemmill is fully focused on Scotland Under-21's huge game in Kiev. Picture: SNS Group
Scot Gemmill is fully focused on Scotland Under-21's huge game in Kiev. Picture: SNS Group
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Scot Gemmill has admitted he is flattered to be linked with the Partick Thistle job, but insists he’s concentrating on Scotland Under-21s’ massive game against Ukraine tonight.

Scotland know a win would put them firmly in the hunt for a play-off spot, although they will need to do it without the injured Fraser Hornby, who has netted five goals in his last two games, and Celtic winger Mikey Johnston.

Gemmill has been linked with a move to take charge at Firhill after the Jags axed long-serving boss Alan Archibald this week.

And although former Everton and Scotland midfielder Gemmill insists he has heard nothing from Maryhill, he admits he will have to move on one day, after two years as Under-21s boss.

He said: “I’ve no idea if that’s true. It’s nothing to do with me. I haven’t applied for the job.

“I take it as a compliment and it’s something I have been honest about from day one when I first started working as a coach for the SFA at Under-15s level that I was working towards being a club manager.

“When I finished playing, my profile was not high enough to get a job and I had to go down a different pathway and that’s what I am trying to do. And I was honest enough to say that from day one and I am still on that pathway.

“But at the same time I am very appreciative and my job has evolved and I am now the Under-21s coach and I think I’ve got a great job and I am concentrating on that to prepare the team to play the best I can.

“It doesn’t feel like the most stable of jobs. When I moved through the age groups to get to the 21s, everyone started speaking about whether my job was about development or performances.

“Personally, I think it’s a real balance between the two, and doing everything we can to help these young players but, at the same time, to be as competitive as possible.

“I would hope that the framework we work to, everyone can see that it’s working and the clarity of message to players is their consistency and we can point to some really strong results over the past 18 months with the 21s.

“The results are more visible with the 21s. I feel my record of four straight Under-17s qualifications for finals is good, but not a lot of people get to hear about those results. The only difference is the Under-21s results are more visible and get spoken about more.

“I don’t feel I am in a position to pick and choose. If I am lucky enough to get an opportunity at some point, and when I feel the time is right...

”There are very few coaches who can choose their job and I am certainly not one of them right now.”

Scotland need to win tonight in Kiev and follow that up with a victory against England on Tuesday to have a chance of a play-off place as they aim to qualify for a finals for the first time since 1996.

But injuries to two of their key players haven’t helped.

Gemmill said: “Fraser and Mikey have not travelled. It’s football and it is an opportunity for other players. Fraser got injured on Friday night playing for his club – it was an ankle injury and they are still waiting for the outcome with that, and Mikey’s got a slight problem with his hamstring and Celtic had him scanned at the weekend.

“They’ve done great for us. Everyone knows about Fraser’s impact for us, not just in the last couple of games but at the Toulon Tournament, and Mikey had a strong tournament too.

“But that is the purpose of the Under-21s team, it’s an opportunity for the next player to show they can be trusted to play.

“Ukraine recognise they have got a chance of getting to the play-offs, like us, and Holland will be exactly the same. You could tell in the build-up to our game with the Dutch they thought they had a chance and you could sense their 
disappointment afterwards. They are still heavily in the mix.”