Scotland 1 - 0 Germany
UEFA European Under-19 Championship Qualifier
Tuesday, 15 October 2019, kick-off 7.05pm
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow

Scotland: McPake (44’)

Scotland produced a fantastic performance to defeat Germany as they finished top of their UEFA European Under-19 Championship Qualifying group.

A superb finish from Josh McPake just before the break gave the home side all three points on a night when the youngsters put in an assured and impressive performance at Firhill Stadium.

Scotland approached the game second in qualifying group three, two points behind Germany who had taken a maximum of six points from their opening two games.

Billy Stark made five changes to his team that beat Andorra on Saturday. Mark Leonard returned to captain the side whilst Josh McPake, Harrison Ashby and Ethan Ross also made the starting eleven. Dapo Mebude started up top, aiming to use his considerable pace to stretch the German rear guard.

Scotland started well and had the first clear chance. Kai Kennedy put in a man of the match display against Andorra on Saturday and looked in the mood again, bursting to the line and cutting the ball back for Ross who was unable to divert his effort goalward.

Aside from that early chance it was the Germans who dominated much of the ball, but Billy Stark’s side held their shape well and restricted their opposition to limited chances. German number nine Leon Dajuka did break through on goal at one point due to lapse defending but was stopped by excellent recovery play by James Maxwell.

As the half progressed Scotland began to grow into the game and gain confidence. Mebude lead the line well on his own and stood up to the physical challenge presented by the German defence. Fellow Rangers youngster McPake also stood out, he began to find freedom off the right side and was unfortunate his side did not profit from one of his positive forward runs.

On the stroke of half time it was that man Mcpake who struck Scotland’s opener. After the ball broke to Dean Campbell 25 yards from goal, the Aberdeen man showed composure to slip in Mcpake who went by his man to fire a fierce effort past German ‘keeper Diant Ramaj from a tight angle. The shot beating the goalie at his front post. Just rewards for Scotland who matched Germany all over the pitch in the opening 45.

Stark’s side picked up where they left off in the second half, defending well and picking their moments to drive forward. Mebude again looked dangerous and was the recipient of several fouls from the German defence who struggled to cope with his pace and trickery.

Scotland were inches away from doubling their lead on the hour mark. Kennedy won a foul right on the edge of the area and then struck the post from the resulting free kick. Ramaj may have got a fingertip to the effort but it was the woodwork that saved Germany. Mebude then went close from a loose ball at a corner but a last ditch challenge sent his shot wide.

Ethan Ross had a penalty shout turned down minutes later. Mebude showed sublime skill to take three German players out of the game before playing in Ross with an inch perfect pass, who appeared to be fouled in the box as he attempted to get a shot off. The midfielder was visibly aggrieved to have not been given the decision.

Germany began to ramp up the pressure as the final whistle loomed and they chased an equaliser. Dajaku went closest ten minutes from time but his clear cut effort was well blocked by the Scotland defence. 

The young Scots held strong, deserving of the win and they now advance to the Elite round which will take place in Spring 2020, as they aim to earn their place at next summer’s UEFA European Under-19 Championship.

Scotland: Mair, Hamilton, Hamilton, Campbell, Leonard, Awokoya-Mebude, Ross (Dickson, 72’), Mcpake (Burroughs, 85’), Ashby, Kennedy, Maxwell
Subs not used: Sinclair, Mcavoy, Robinson, Lo-Everton, Fiorini, Joseph

Germany: Ramaj, Asta, Ehlers, Jakel, Tauer, Kraub, Dajaku, Schoenfelder (Gudra, 63’), Schade, Samardzic (Batista Meier, 63’), Kurt (Katterbach, 45’)
Subs not used: Klein, Muller, Aidonis, Messeguem, Taiabidi, Jastremski

Attendance: 626