Germany v Scotland
DEAC Stadium, Debrecen
Tuesday, 23 May (2pm kick off - UK time)
Scotland Under-17s’ Euro 2023 campaign concludes on Tuesday, with Germany the opposition for Brian McLaughlin’s side. Despite competitive performances against top opposition in France and Portugal, Scotland fell to two narrow defeats – meaning they can no longer progress to the Quarter-Finals.
Scotland and Celtic midfielder Kyle Ure spoke to us, to look back on the two matches against top-level opposition.
Kyle – we know the matches in this group were going represent challenges against a high-standard of opposition. How do you reflect on the games against France and Portugal?
The standard of opposition is the best I’ve played against in my career so far. It’s eye-opening as it highlights what we need to do to become better players and become a better team. In the games we’ve played, we’ve been in the games but we’ve not done enough to get the results that we need.
In both games we’ve conceded goals in the first five minutes which is never ideal against top European countries. The boys did well to stay in the games and we recovered from it well. We’ve scored in both games and it was 2-1 in both games so we had a chance to push and get a point which would have left us still in the competition but it wasn’t to be.
I imagine as a player, it’s this level of opposition you want to be testing yourself against?
Playing against top international teams – probably the best players in Europe in our age group – it’s only going to stand you in good stead to show you the level that you need to get to if you want to progress to the next level.
It’s been evident in the team meetings and in the matches that Scotland have come here to try and implement our style of play, despite the challenges posed by the opposition.
There’s no point in us coming here and changing the way we play. We’re good players just like them but we need to stick to the style we’ve played for the last 12 months together. Over the last year we’ve developed as a team and we’ve built relationships so we’re not going to start again from scratch just because we’re playing top European teams. We might as well go and play our style and see if it’s good enough. We’ve played our style in games and we’ve looked the better team in some spells but they’ve been very clinical in front of goal.
You weren’t in Israel last year so this is your first experience of a major international tournament. How have you found the experience as a whole?
The group of lads are amazing and we’re just one big group – there’s no divisions. The hotel and the facilities have been amazing and it’s so professional. Everything’s scheduled and disciplined. It’s been a great experience that hopefully I can get more of.
What does representing Scotland mean to not only yourself, but your family as well?
You never really expect as a young kid to be playing for your country and now I’ve done it numerous times. Singing the national anthem at the start of games is such a proud moment for everybody that’s been involved in my journey so far. It’s something I want to experience more and more and hopefully play for the A squad one day.
My family have watched every game on TV. They’ve not managed to make it out unfortunately but they’ve been to Wales and Spain so they’ve been everywhere. My mum and dad will push me, keep me grounded and they’ll do everything that is required to make me the best I can be. They’ve been a huge influence on my career so far.
Your dad, Derek Ure, has a raft of experience in the game, playing and managing with East Stirlingshire in particularly – did watching him influence your path into football?
My whole family is football – it’s all we do! So I was always going to play football of some sort but having my dad has stood me in good stead. Every game of his I was there. If I was playing Saturday morning it would be straight to his game. I used to go and watch training and sometimes do some possession boxes with them. I have two brothers who both play at Celtic as well.
We’ve seen you around the hotel with your laptop this week – I understand you’re studying at the Open University?
I’m doing a Sport and Fitness Management course at the Open University. It gives me a side focus. I actually like doing it on the day of games if I’ve got a night game because it takes my mind off the game and focus on something completely different. It’s a six-year degree part time and I’ve just finished my first year.
Central midfield is a position that Scotland are particularly blessed in. Are there any players in the senior squad that you particularly look up to?
Callum McGregor is an ideal role model for me – both at club and country, with the the way he conducts himself, both on and off the field. I’ve spoke to him once or twice and he congratulated me after the Youth Cup Final.
You mentioned your family are football-daft. What are your best memories of watching the national team play?
I go to most of the Scotland games. My granddad runs a bus through from Falkirk for most games. The whole family all go to the matches. The Israel game I would say is the best I’ve been to with Scott McTominay’s 90th minute winner.
Having sat in the stand watching the national team play, it was surreal to play there in the Youth Cup Final. Not many people are fortunate enough to play at Hampden but to play there in a final and win a cup was amazing. Lifting the trophy was incredible.
And finally – having been competitive in both games, is it a case of wanting to go one step further and secure a result against Germany on Tuesday?
It’s been a challenge but I’ve enjoyed it. We need to make sure we don’t concede early on because we’ve made it a trend even in Wales in the Elite Round
Hopefully tomorrow we even score an early goal because that changes the way we can attack the game and not have to go chasing it and manage the game better.
How to Watch
All three of Scotland's Group C matches will be live on the BBC Scotland website. Highlights of all the matches will be available on the Scotland National Team Youtube channel.
Scotland Under-17 Squad
Rory Mahady Leeds United
Callan McKenna* Queens Park
Josh Dede Celtic
Rocco Friel* Hearts
Mitchel Frame Celtic
Ruari Ellis* Kilmarnock
Owen Hastie Hibernian
Leyton Grant Rangers
Bailey Rice* Rangers
Kyle Ure Celtic
Gabriel Forsyth* Hamilton Accies
Rudi Allan-Molotnikov* Hibernian
Lennon Connolly* Queens Park
Lennon Miller Motherwell
Jacob MacIntyre* Hibernian
Rory Wilson* Aston Villa
Bobby McLuckie Hearts
Ryan One* Hamilton Accies
Ewan Simpson* Aston Villa
Findlay Marshall* Aberdeen
*Denotes Scottish FA JD Performance School participant.