UEFA Elite Round
Scotland v Turkey
Wednesday, 20 March, kick-off 2pm
Dr Machado de Matos, Portugal

UEFA Elite Round
Scotland v Cyprus
Saturday, 23 March, kick-off 3pm
Estadio do Rio Ave, Portugal

UEFA Elite Round
Scotland v Portugal
Tuesday, 26 March, kick-off 4.15pm
Estadio do Bessa XXI, Portugal

Scotland Under-19s will be looking to make a small piece of history over the course of the next 10 days, as they seek to qualify for the UEFA Under-19s European Championship for only the second time in the team’s history.

Billy Stark’s side will travel to Portugal for their UEFA Elite Round fixtures in pursuit of a first appearance at the tournament for 13 years, as they look to overcome their hosts and defending champions for a place at this summer’s finals in Armenia.

Turkey and Cyprus also stand in Scotland’s path to the finals, with only the group winner progressing to battle it out for the European title this July.

Should they qualify, Stark’s squad will be looking to emulate the performance of their counterparts from 2006, when Archie Gemmill led a side containing future Scotland internationals such as Steven Fletcher and Graham Dorrans all the way to the final.

On that occasion, only a Spanish outfit containing future FIFA World Cup winners Gerard Pique and Juan Mata could prevent Scotland from taking the title.

Team News

Head coach Billy Stark has named a settled squad for the trip to Portugal, as he looks to build on an unbeaten start to 2019.

Eight of the playing group have come through the Scottish FA JD Performance School system, including Chelsea starlet Billy Gilmour and Hearts midfielder Harry Cochrane.

Dapo Mebude and Zak Rudden will be tasked with providing the cutting edge on the pitch, with the latter enjoying an impressive loan spell at Falkirk.

Dapo Mebude

Coach’s view

Scotland Under-19s head coach Billy Stark: “We’re delighted to be in the UEFA Elite Round once again. We’ve been drawn against Portugal – the holders – as well as Turkey and Cyprus, so they’ll all be challenging games. That’s what you expect from the Elite Round though, three tough fixtures.

“With just the top team qualifying, it’ll be a tough task, but it’s certainly not one we’re afraid of. We’re really pleased with the squad that we’ve got – it’ll now be a case of testing them against the opposition.

“We’ve got to take confidence from the preparatory matches we’ve played into what’s going to be a busy schedule for us. Depth of squad is going to be important for us. We play three games in six days, so we have to factor that into the equation. I’m excited about the squad though – we’re going out there to do the best we possibly can.

“I think it’d be dangerous to have a plan in place for each game in terms of personnel. We’ll take each game as it comes – the first game is the biggest game, then if you do well the second game is the biggest, before a massive third game if you’re still in contention.

“History shows that qualifying for the finals is a tough task. We haven’t qualified since 2006, but even since then every team has got stronger. Every team at this stage has their own quality, so we’ve got to attack it with relish and see where we end up.