3 in 2 for Cairns

22nd July 2008

In San Sebastian, Scotland?s under-21 men drew 2-2 again, this time with Belgium, to keep alive their hopes of a semi-final place after the pool matches have been completed.

Manager Tom Johnston said: ?We?re happy with the result but it?s a bit bitter sweet as we were up by one for a fair bit up till the final minutes of the game. If we would have been offered a draw at the beginning of the game we probably would have taken it but when we gained ground we should have maintained it.?

Despite pulling ahead, the Belgians had more flair and creativity, but the Scots took advantage of their poor finishing and ground out a creditable result ? although they were quickly 1-0 behind from an early Belgian penalty corner.

In the 20th minute, Ross Stott?s free hit from the left rebounded off the goalkeeper to Cammy Fraser, who slotted the ball home to equalise.

It was after the interval that Scotland went ahead when Michael Christie?s cross across the face of the goal found Ian Scholefield in position to ram home a low shot. But Belgium levelled the scores again nine minutes from time.

Johnston added: ?Our results so far have shown we have talent and that we can match some of the best teams in Europe. We?ll be looking to build on our results so far to get into the semi-finals. It?s exciting, we?re scoring goals from open play and from short corners and we?ve been defending better.

?The picture hasn?t changed for us, Poland has been our main objective; we need a win against Poland to stay in the top six and we?ll be looking to give it everything we?ve got to get to the next phase.?

23rd July 2008

In the final minutes of their match this morning, Scotland?s U21 men fell 3-2 to Poland after a respectable push that saw them briefly equalise in the last ten minutes.

Manager Tom Johnston said: ?We pushed in the second half and added pressure to equalise at 2-2 but in the final minutes they had a break and scored from open play. Everyone is disappointed, we?re gutted; but we?ve got to pull ourselves up and get ready for England and Austria.?

Scotland need to win their remaining matches in order to stay up in the championship division and to qualify for next year?s World Cup.

Poland started quickly and was up two by the end of the first half. Despite this, Johnston described the Poles play as ?unadventurous.? In the last ten minutes it was Scotland?s Ross Stott (Kelburne) who scored from open play to get the Scots on the board followed by a penalty corner from youngster Josh Cairns (Kelburne) in the 65 minute.

But the Poles pulled one out from a breaking run in the final minutes to pull ahead 3-2, eliminating Scotland?s chances to reach the semi-finals.

Today?s defeat comes after a promising performance against Poland in test matches earlier this month where Scotland took the series with high score lines.

Scotland and Poland are both eliminated from the semi-finals leaving Germany and Belgium to play at 12:15 for first place in pool B. Austria and England, both with zero points in pool A, play today at 17:00. Scotland?s next game will be against pool A?s third place team, either Austria or England, at 12:15 Friday.