UEFA European Under-17 Championship Finals
Scotland v France
Thursday, 7th May 2015, kick-off 3pm (UK time)
Beroe, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria
Celtic midfielder Mark Hill says Scotland have set their sights on the latter stages of this year’s UEFA European Under-17 Championship finals and is eyeing an opening day win over France tomorrow to get their campaign off to a flyer.
The Scots take on their French counterparts in Stara Zagora in Bulgaria at 3pm tomorrow (UK time) as this summer’s tournament gets under way.
After topping their qualification group in September, Scotland reached this year’s championship as one of seven best-placed runners-up from the elite round in March.
Hill has been ever-present for Scotland in their qualification campaign and says the squad have no intentions of heading home early. The 16-year-old also has ambitions of qualifying for this year’s World Cup in Chile, with six places up for grabs.
He said: “Our minimum aim is to get through the groups and qualify for the World Cup.
“We have some good players in our squad and we believe we can beat France tomorrow but we know it will be tough as all the teams at finals are of a good standard.
“We have already shown we can compete at this level and have picked up some decent results along the way but we need to perform to a high level if we are to be successful here.”
Hill has ambitions of following in the footsteps of former Scotland youth internationalists James Forrest, Callum McGregor and Liam Henderson by forcing his way into the thoughts of first-team manager Ronny Deila.
He starred in Celtic’s Glasgow Cup Final win over Rangers at Hampden last week, which Deila attended, and was also of the squad that lifted the trophy last year. More than 8000 people were in attendance at Celtic Park last year, with 1700 inside the National Stadium this year – experience Hill believes can only aid his development.
He said: “It was good experience for me to play at Hampden and also at Celtic Park last year in front of so many people.
“I have trained with the first team a few times. The tempo is much faster and the players are obviously bigger and stronger so you need to be at your best but it’s all good experience.
“I feel like I’m always learning, whether at my club or when I come away with Scotland, and I hope I can keep developing and make my way through to the first-team one day.”
Scotland face France on tomorrow in their opening match of the 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship Finals. The match kicks-off at 3pm (UK time) and you can follow the action on the official Scottish FA Twitter.