Scotland 1-2 Northern Ireland 
Wednesday, 2 June 2021 
C&G Systems Stadium, Dumbarton 
Scotland: Middleton (35). 
Northern Ireland: Taylor (9), Baggley (45). 
A new-look Scotland Under-21 squad were edged out 2-1 in Dumbarton. 
Scot Gemmill and his staff are building towards the new UEFA Under-21 Championship qualification campaign, with a trip to Turkey pencilled in for September. 

With the likes of Billy Gilmour and Nathan Patterson fast-tracked into Steve Clarke’s squad for the European Championships, Gemmill had a lot of fresh faces to run the rule over. 
Captain Glenn Middleton was the only survivor from the Under-21’s last run-out back in November 2020, with Lewis Mayo, Logan Chalmers and Stephen Kelly the only others to have been capped at that level. 
As Gemmill admitted afterwards, it will take time for the squad to gel, having only had three training sessions together ahead of this closed door contest. 
The visitors started on the front foot and took the lead on nine minutes when Aaron Donnelly crossed for Dale Taylor to volley home.  
Middleton – fresh from an influential finish to St Johnstone’s memorable campaign – was involved in Scotland’s brightest moments early on, with an eye-catching run down the left and a free-kick that flew just wide. 
Athletic Bilbao striker Ewan Urain led the line well in his first appearance for Scotland and his persistence paid off in the 35th minute when he was barged over in the box by Kofi Balmer. Middleton made no mistake from the spot. 
To their credit, Northern Ireland responded well and regained the lead on the stroke of half-time, with Barry Baggley lifting the ball over keeper Cieran Slicker at a time when the Scots looked on top.  
Urain forced keeper Dermott Mee into a fine save with a shot that looked destined for the top corner, while Stephen Kelly and Kyle Joseph also tried their luck unsuccessfully.  
Sub Zak Rudden added real nuisance value up top after being introduced, but looked on in dismay as his scrambled close-range effort came back off the post as Scotland pushed hard for a leveller. 
The two teams will do it all again on Saturday. 


Scotland U21s: Slicker, Burroughs, Harper, Welsh, Deas, Banks, Erhahon, Urain, Kelly, Middleton, Joseph

Subs: Kinnear, Mair, Mayo, Mackay, Rudden, McPake, Chalmers, Williamson, Clayton, MacGregor, Bowie

Northern Ireland U21s: Mee, Stewart, Donnelly, Balmer, Finalyson, Scott, Palmer, Boyd-Munce, Baggley, Conn-Clarke, Taylor

Subs: Walsh, McClelland, Cousin-Dawson, Hume, Johnston, Smyth, Boyle, Waide, McCann