Vauxhall Under-17 International Challenge Match
Scotland vs Romania
Tuesday 24th February 2015, kick-off 7pm
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock


Scot Gemmill believes that tomorrow’s friendly against Romania is the perfect preparation for Scotland Under-17 ahead of their UEFA European Championship elite round qualifiers.

Scotland face Romania at Rugby Park (changed from Somerset Park) tomorrow in a match that is free entry for under-16s, and the Scotland national youth team coach is looking forward to seeing his players tested against quality opposition.

Speaking to the Scottish FA, Gemmill said: “It is exactly what we need for our preparation. Romania have also qualified for the elite round, and they are a side that have a good pedigree and good history.”

“It is a match that suits them, too. They’ve been drawn against England in their group, so it is a match that will benefit both teams.”

Romania qualified for the elite round alongside Czech Republic, who Scotland will face along with Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina next month. Romania narrowly lost to the Czechs in the first qualifying round, and Gemmill has learnt a lot about what the team will face from the fixture between the two sides.

He said: “In the build-up to this game we’ve obviously been concentrating on Romania, but at the same time it would be silly to not pay attention to the Czech Republic.

“We’ve done our homework and watched the match between the two sides, and we know that Romania will certainly provide us with a stern test.”

Gemmill’s side are one of four Scotland youth teams to take part in elite round qualifiers this year. Last season, three Scotland teams (Men’s Under-17, Women’s Under-17 and Women’s Under-19) reached major finals, and the Scotland national youth coach is eager to see his side progress once more.

He said: “If we were to qualify for the finals in Bulgaria it would definitely help us convince people about the work that takes place.”

“A lot of hard work goes on at the clubs as well as the Scottish FA, and it would be good to have their efforts rewarded by success on the pitch. 

“Importantly, qualification would start to set a precedent for everyone at all levels, and hopefully develop a culture of reaching major tournaments.” 

Scotland Under-17s reached the semi-finals of the UEFA European Championships in Malta last year, and the current squad features Robby McCrorie and Calvin Miller from the side that performed so impressively at the tournament.

It was an experience that Gemmill enjoyed, and one that he hopes the current squad will have the opportunity to benefit from.

He said: “I think there are a few of them who didn’t realize how good an experience it was until they got back from Malta. They became better players, almost without realizing, because they were playing the best players in Europe.

“I’ve also stressed to the players how these opportunities do not come long often, we need to make it happen ourselves as nobody is going to give it to us on a plate.“