Greg Taylor remembers exactly where he was 11 years ago when James McFadden’s iconic strike secured that famous win in France.
So the sense of occasion wasn’t lost on the Kilmarnock left-back after he and his team-mates carved their own little bit of history with a triumph of their own on French soil.
Taylor excelled as Scotland’s Under-21s triumphed 1-0 over the Toulon tournament hosts – courtesy of an Oliver Burke goal – and knows it’s put them in a great position heading into Saturday’s final group match against South Korea.
Greg, you’ve become synonymous with scoring the winning goal against Brazil in last year’s Toulon tournament – the first time Scotland had ever won against Brazil at any level. So where does this win over France rank?
I’m not sure beating France was as good as beating Brazil, because I scored in that one… No, seriously, it was just as good. I thought the boys dug in really well. We probably had slightly less of the ball in the second half than we did against Brazil but we all worked hard, did our jobs, listened to Scot Gemmill and kept the play narrow. I think the counter-attacking game suits us. Maybe it’s a wee bit harder when we have to go and dominate the game. Against Togo we did create the chances. We just didn’t get the ball over the line.
It maybe comes as news to you, but it’s the first time Scotland have beaten France at any level for 11 years…
We found that out afterwards – that it was the first since Faddy’s goal. That’s not bad! It’s obviously not on a level with that but it’s still some achievement. The boys are all buzzing. I was in the local pub in my home town, Gourock, that night Faddy scored. I must have been quite young but I obviously wasn’t drinking. I think everyone was in shock. The whole place went wild when the goal went in. I don’t think anyone could believe it. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
As one of the more vocal members of the team, it was maybe no surprise to see you handed the captain’s armband when Oliver Burke came off. What did that mean to you?
That was a massive honour. It’s something you dream about as a kid. Whether that’s at Under-21 level or any level. I was delighted to get it after Oli went off. I think the boys are probably sick of listening to me because I’m a shouter. I can’t help it. I’m a moaner. But that’s just because I want to win and I think people realise that. Ryan Porteous is exactly the same and if that’s what we need to do to win then we’ll do it.
The win over France looked like a real team effort, whether it was those who started or the likes of Chris Hamilton and Daniel Harvie who were introduced late on to shore up the defence.
They’ve all been brilliant. You saw wee Billy Gilmour at 16 years old. He was tremendous – everywhere on the pitch. Then Chrissy came on. He’s naturally a centre-back but came on at right midfield. They were all willing to work for the team. That’s the attitude we’ve got to have.
The right result against South Korea could lead to a second straight semi-final appearance at Toulon. How do you see it?
We can win on Saturday and go a long way. It’s in our hands, 100 per cent. We know what we’ve got to do now. We’ve got to put on a performance and see where it takes us.
Ross Doohan (Celtic)
Robby McCrorie (Rangers)
Daniel Harvie (Aberdeen)
Jason Kerr (St Johnstone)
Chris Hamilton (Heart of Midlothian)
Ryan Porteous (Hibernian)
Anthony Ralston (Celtic)
Greg Taylor (Kilmarnock)
Iain Wilson (Kilmarnock)
Liam Burt (Rangers)
Allan Campbell (Motherwell)
Billy Gilmour (Chelsea)
Fraser Hornby (Everton)
Glenn Middleton (Rangers)
Harvey St Clair (Chelsea)
Elliot Watt (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Oliver Burke (West Bromwich Albion)
Michael Johnston (Celtic)
Craig Wighton (Dundee)
Scott Wright (Aberdeen)
Group A: China, England, Mexico, Qatar
Group B: France, Scotland, South Korea, Togo
Group C: Canada, Japan, Portugal, Turkey
Scotland 1, Togo 1, Stade de Lattre, Aubagne
Scotland 1, France 0, Stade D’Honneur, Salon
Scotland v South Korea, Saturday 2 June, kick-off 2pm (UK time), Stade Parsemain, Fos-Sur-Mer (Live on Free Sports UK Facebook Live)
*Schedule subject to change depending on broadcaster's preferences.
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