2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying
Turkey v Scotland
Tuesday, 7 September 2021, kick-off 5pm (UK time)
Bursa Buyuksehir Stadium, Bursa, Turkey
Live on BBC Scotland

On Tuesday night, Scotland begin their European Qualifying campaign with an away match against Turkey in Bursa.

Scotland go into the match having been in camp since last Monday, playing a training game against Wales on Thursday, losing 2-1.

With a depleted squad, Scot Gemmill’s side travel to Turkey aiming to begin the campaign with a positive start against a Turkey side who have already played a match in the group, losing 3-0 to Belgium.

The start of the campaign heralds the beginning of a new era for the 21s with a fresh squad of players to choose from, following the last campaign which saw Scotland go within one game of securing qualification.

Team news

Before the squad met up on Monday, Scot Gemmill named a revised squad.

Due to UK Government rules England-based players are not exempt from travelling to red-list countries and would need to self-isolate for 10 days on their return, therefore 10 players from the original named squad were unavailable for selection.

Scotland-based players are permitted to travel due to a Scottish Government exemption which will allow the team to visit Turkey for less than 48 hours and not self-isolate on their return.

Goalkeepers Harry Stone and Lewis Budinauckas were presented with the chance to impress along with Hibernian’s recent loan signing James Scott who has also been called up.

Jamie Hamilton bolstered the defensive options while Kai Kennedy will be aiming for his first Under-21s appearance.

Hibernian regular Josh Doig is in the squad, having captained Scotland against Wales in the closed door training game.

Pre-match thoughts with Scot Gemmill

What are your thoughts going into the campaign opener against Turkey?

Everyone is looking forward to it. We all accept the current situation in terms of the pandemic and accept that we are lucky that we are getting to play as a lot of the younger age groups haven’t been able to do that. We’ve had a good week together and feel well prepared.

We obviously had to bring in some new players after being forced to change the squad up and it presents these guys with a brilliant opportunity. At some point they would have been involved in the campaign, we’ve just lost control in terms of the timing of it.

It’s good that give as many young players as much opportunity as possible so the ball is in their court to maximise that.

You had a training game during the week against Wales, how beneficial was that experience?

Of course we wanted to win and prepare well but we also had our eye on the Turkey game so were preparing for that in terms of how we aim to play, as well as using the game to help pick the team for that match. It was a little different to a normal game but it was still a useful exercise that’s helped us prepare.

You have shared the captain’s armband around the squad recently and on Wednesday, Josh Doig was the latest to pull it on. How important is it to create a number of leaders within the group?

Being captain is a massive responsibility for the players and I think it’s good to share that leadership around. Glenn Middleton was a captain in the June games and so was Lewis Mayo. There will be a different captain tomorrow night too. We have several players who can do it, it’s good for their development and good for us to observe them and see how they deal with it.

How would you assess Turkey, having watched their game against Belgium?

It’s difficult to predict how they’re going to play as they’ve mixed it up recently, playing contrasting styles of play. In their June match against Ukraine they played a really aggressive high press but against Belgium they didn’t do that. It’s a big test for our players to have that intelligence to deal with whatever comes their way.

We’re expecting the atmosphere at the game to be quite hostile and I hope that it is. If the players are ever lucky enough to play for the full squad then that’s that types of atmospheres they’ll have to play in so the more experience they have of it a younger age, the better they’ll cope.

Where to watch?

The match will be broadcast live on the BBC Scotland channel from 5.15pm, presented by Amy Irons. The match will kick-off at 5.30pm.

Scotland Under-21s squad

Ross Sinclair (St Johnstone)
Harry Stone (Partick Thistle ++)
Lewis Budinauckas (Rangers)
Josh Doig (Hibernian)
Lewis Mayo (Partick Thistle +) PS
Adam Montgomery (Celtic) PS
Dane Murray (Celtic)
Stephen Welsh (Celtic)
Jamie Hamilton (Hamilton Academical
Calvin Ramsay Aberdeen PS
Stephen Kelly Rangers PS
Dean Campbell Aberdeen PS
Chris Mochrie Dundee United PS
Max Anderson Dundee PS
Ben Williamson Livingston +
Daniel Mackay Hibernian
Kai Kennedy Dunfermline Athletic + PS
Glenn Middleton St Johnstone +
Zak Rudden Partick Thistle PS
James Scott Hibernian +++
Ewan Urain Athletic Club Bilbao

JD- Denotes Scottish FA JD Performance School Participant
+ on loan from Rangers
++ on loan from Heart of Midlothian
+++ on loan from Hull City