Rangers youngsters involved as Scotland under 21s take step closer to Euros
Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images

Rangers youngsters involved as Scotland under 21s take step closer to Euros

Scotland under-21s have gone top of their European Championship qualifying group with one game left to play thanks to a fantastic performance from Rangers winger Glenn Middleton as Scot Gemmill’s side drew 2-2 with Croatia at Tynecastle.

Nathan Patterson and Ross McCrorie were the only Rangers Academy graduates to make the starting XI with Robby McCrorie, Middleton and Lewis Mayo joined on the bench by ex-Ger Billy Gilmour.

The two sides met in September last year, Scot Gemmill’s side winning 2-1 in Sibenik with Connor McLennan scoring twice in the last 10 minutes to come back from an early Croatia goal.

Patterson again started in a more advanced role than he tends to feature at club level, playing wide on the right with McCrorie in behind at right-back.

The visitors took the lead after 20 minutes when Nikola Moro found space inside the Scotland box before opening the scoring with a tidy finish into the bottom corner and leave Scotland’s qualification hopes hanging by a thread.

It was 2-0 five minutes later when some slack defending again allowed the Croatians to get forward before Vuskovic scored a fantastic efford from outside the box.

 (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

There was a change at the break as Patterson was taken off and replaced by Rangers team-mate Glenn Middleton with Gemmill looking to get his side back into the game.

The young Scots started the second half much brighter than the first, looking more confident on the ball and not allowing Croatia as much time on the ball.

Eight minutes after coming off the bench, Middleton made the impact hoped for, firing home from the edge of the area – aided by a mistake by the Croatian keeper – to spark the second half to life.

Scotland were handed another massive boost just moments later when the Croatians were reduced to ten men after a moment of madness from Borna Sosa saw him kick out at Ryan Porteous.

https://twitter.com/ScotlandNT/status/1326922086879813634

The turnaround was complete with 20 minutes left when MacLennan fired home Daniel Harvie’s cross and put Scotland in the driving seat after looking buried earlier in the game.

Just when it looked like things were going Scotland’s way, Billy Gilmour was sent off after appearing to use abusive language towards the official when he gave a decision against the Chelsea midfielder.

The red card didn’t kill the hosts’ momentum though as Middleton went close to making it 3-2 after a surging run from deep then almost catching the keeper out for a second time with a shot from distance.

There wasn’t to be a third goal for Scotland, despite their second-half dominance, but Gemmill will have been happy to come away with a point after being 2-0 down at the break.

Gemmill’s side now move on to face Greece in their final game of the campaign on Tuesday and the chance to secure their place in next summer’s finals.

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