Last night Scotland Under-21s took another step towards Euro qualification with a stunning 7-0 victory over San Marino.
The win was Scotland’s Under-21s biggest in their history, surpassing their 5-0 victory over Finland in September 1995. Fraser Hornby also notched a hat-trick, becoming the record goalscorer for the side, with 10 strikes.
Scotland now sit in the second spot in the qualification group, one point behind Czech Republic with a game in hand.
Next month they finish the campaign with matches against Croatia and Greece.
Reflecting on the night in San Marino, Scottish FA Performance Director Malky Mackay said: “To secure a record-breaking scoreline is a huge credit to our players and staff and I’m particularly happy for our head coach Scot Gemmill. He is a very talented coach and a terrific ambassador to lead our under 21 international team. The position he holds is a very important role within the international football pathway and Scot has done an excellent job since he started in 2016.
“There have been some unforgettable results in the last couple of years including victories over Brazil, France, Croatia and Netherlands and under Scot’s leadership we are finding players grow in confidence and our team are now believing they can go toe to toe with the best.
“This week has been very pleasing with back to back wins against Czech Republic and last night’s 7-0 win against San Marino. We now go into the last two fixtures in November with confidence and the possibility of qualification.
“A special mention must also go to Fraser Hornby who goes down in the history books as the leading goalscorer for the 21s. He’s got huge potential and hopefully there are many more goals to come in Scotland shirt for him."
With the goals flying in at the top end of the pitch, the 21s have also showed resilience in defence. Scotland have only conceded two goals in the qualification campaign thus far – a record which is only bettered by one other of the 55 nations vying for a place at the Euro Finals – Spain.
One player missing from Scotland’s defence in the latest double header was Ryan Porteous who has been included in Steve Clarke’s squad for their home triple-header. Along with Porteous, the McCrorie brothers have also linked up with the A squad in the last month, as Scot Gemmill and Malky Mackay aim to continue the production line which saw nine players make the step up last year.
With Steve Clarke often using the 21s players in his squads, Gemmill has looked to give experience to a younger age group of players and Mackay believes this strategy will help Scotland in the long term.
He said: “We had eight top young players unavailable this week on international duty which can be frustrating, but it also allows others to be selected and take their chance. One of our most important tasks is to help build a broader pool of international standard player for Steve Clarke to pick from. This is without doubt one of the main aims of the performance department and we’re starting to fast-track our top young players through the age groups.
“I was particularly delighted with our three players from the under 19s who played a huge part in the victories this week. Nathan Paterson, Harrison Ashby and Lewis Mayo were excellent and have made their families proud.”
Looking back on the week, Mackay was thankful to the clubs who have worked with the Scottish FA to ensure players were available for selection to ensure Scotland are now within touching distance of making more history by reaching a European Championships.
He said: “The 21s would not function without the incredible support of our clubs as we borrow players, and during what are challenging times for international football it has been encouraging to see a close collaboration with them.
"The players themselves deserve a massive pat on the back as they have worked tirelessly, travelled long distances and shown a professionalism and hunger to represent their country. Some have received later call-ups than others and yet not a single person has let their commitment waver.
“From our coaches to all of our backroom team involved behind the scenes, everyone has carried out their clear roles and responsibilities to a tee and it has been crucial to the continued progress of the team. All of the staff with the group have really stepped up to the mark this week and once again I’d like to thank them and consider myself lucky to work with such passionate and talented people. The challenge never stops and we will continue to try and meet it head on."