UEFA European Under-17 Championship Elite Round
Scotland 6-1 Montenegro
Friday, 17 March 2017, kick-off 7.30pm
Paisley 2021 Stadium, Paisley
Aitchison 10, 53, Rudden 18, Mcinroy 27, Middleton 60, 74; Rakonjac 44
Scotland got their bid to qualify for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship Finals off to the perfect start with a comprehensive and clinical 6-1 victory over Montenegro in the opening fixture.
Played in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Paisley 2021 Stadium, Scotland raced into a 3-0 lead within half an hour.
It was a position they never looked like relinquishing and they will now look to cement their bid to qualify for the finals for an unprecedented fourth consecutive time when they return to Paisley to play Serbia on Sunday at 3pm.
Following some early scares Scotland began to exert their dominance, taking the lead in the tenth minute through a swift counter attack following a Montenegrin corner. Aitchinson controlled a high ball through from Middleton on his chest before taking a touch away from his marker and arrowing a left footed strike high into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Scotland doubled their lead in the 18th minute when left back Church curled a delightful cross on the run into the box which Rudden rose above the defence to head home.
The crowd had further reason to cheer when Mcinroy bulleted a low left footed drive from the edge of the box following a sustained spell of Scotland possession.
Montenegro pulled one back shortly after the break, half-time substitute Rakonjac finding the net following a mix-up in the Scotland defence.
Any chance of a Montenegrin comeback was snuffed out in the 53rd minute, Aitchinson restoring Scotland’s three goal lead when he latched onto a low ball into the box from Middleton, turning his marker and drilling the ball into the bottom corner.
With Scotland cruising to victory, coach Scot Gemmill was able to take Aitchinson off with Sunday’s game in mind.
The change did nothing to disrupt Scotland’s rhythm, Middleton capping a fine performance by extending Scotland’s lead in the 60th minute with another long range drive that nestled into the goal.
The Norwich City forward bagged his second and Scotland’s sixth on the 74th minute, cutting in from the left and angling a low finish into the far corner from only a few yards off the goal line.
Scotland now turn their minds to Sunday’s game against Serbia, who defeated Switzerland 2-1 in the day’s earlier fixture, knowing victory would all but guarantee a place at the finals.
SCOTLAND | Donaldson (GK), Church, Welsh, Deas (Mayo 67), Mitchell, Aitchinson (Cameron 56), Rudden, Middleton, Ross, Mcinroy, Houston (Reid 67).
Subs not used: Mccracken (GK), Hutchison, Smith.