Scotland Under-16s ended their 2019 Victory Shield campaign as joint champions, following a hard-fought 1-1 draw with host nation Wales in their final fixture today.
Head Coach Stuart McLaren’s side end the four-team tournament unbeaten, setting the tone for the tournament in the first match with a comprehensive 4-0 victory against the Republic of Ireland. Scotland controlled the match throughout, with a double from St Mirren forward Keiran Offord and a goal apiece from Rangers’ Adedire Awokoya-Mebude and Celtic’s Josh Adams securing the victory.
The side followed up their opening win with a goalless draw against reigning Victory Shield champions Northern Ireland, setting the stage for what would be the decisive match against the host nation.
After finding themselves a goal down to Wales at half-time, Scotland fought their way back into the match, with Celtic’s Tsoanelo Letsosa grabbing the equaliser. With the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland match also finishing 1-1, Scotland and Wales share the title of 2019 champions.
Scotland Head Coach Stuart McLaren: “The players have been fantastic all week and this title is just reward, not only for how much effort they have put in but also how much quality they have played with throughout.
“They have given us a real indication that they can develop into good professional players and international players for Scotland.
“The tournament experience will give them a huge insight into the levels required of international football but should also give them belief they are more than capable of playing at that level.
“At half-time today we gave them a bit of tactical info where we thought we could be better in the game. We controlled most of the first half and felt going a goal down was a bit harsh, but we felt that if we could tidy up on some of the little details we can get ourselves back into the game.
“Finding ourselves not only one nil down, but playing away to the host country, they had a lot of pressure on them. So it is huge testament to their mentality and it was great to see the turnaround.
“The tournament has been an exercise to see how the players handle playing international football. This is the first time we have worked with this group in a tournament so it is huge testament to the players and the work done with them at clubs.
“We now know we have 20 players who can perform very well at this level, but also Brian McLaughlin’s recent Under-17s squad has five players who are eligible for this group, so the depth of talent there is really encouraging.
“The first game was huge standout. We controlled that from start to finish and restricted the Republic of Ireland, who were not a poor team, to a few chances. We showed a real maturity at three and four nil to close out the game.
“The performance levels across all three games were at the highest level. To show that consistency and maturity for players at this age is very encouraging.”