UEFA Under 21 Euro 2017 Qualifying match. Scotland’s youngsters take on Macedonia at Tynecastle in a game they must win to have a chance of qualifying for next summer’s championship in Poland.
While Scotland’s senior team are just beginning their World Cup qualification campaign away in Malta, their under 21 side are already midway through the qualifiers and facing a crunch tie against Macedonia tonight. The Scotland Under-21 team sit in fourth place in Group 3, with eight points from six games and know a win against third-placed Macedonia is absolutely vital if they are to have any chance of sealing a place at next summer’s European Championship in Poland.
Only one team qualifies from each group, with four of the nine best runners-up contesting the play-offs – so Scotland know there is no room for any more slip ups. A win would take them to within three points of current group leaders France, and the young prospects will hope home advantage can help them get a much-needed three points.
Jason Cummings scored a double in the under 21s last match against Northern Ireland in March and he will go into this game full of confidence after flying out the blocks for Hibs this season. And with the likes of Hearts winger Sam Nicholson, Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser and Sporting Lisbon’s Ryan Gauld operating in behind, there is plenty to get excited about this young Scottish side.
Chris Cadden has been in fine form for Motherwell this season and is included in the Scotland Under-21 squad after Brentford’s Lewis McLeod was deemed not quite ready as he recovers from a long-term injury. While Swansea’s Oliver McBurnie is pushing for a start after scoring two in the Capital One Cup for the Swans last week.
While Macedonia’s senior team may be number 138 in the FIFA rankings and one of the minnows of world football, their under 21 side have fared better in recent years, securing two credible draws against France – the strongest team in the group. Macedonia Under-21 may not possess any household names – their top goalscorer Marjan Radeski plays for Macedonian side SK Shkendija – but they are unbeaten since the first qualifying match and will certainly make Scotland work for a victory at Tynecastle.
Match preview by back4: “Scottish football’s newest website and podcast, dedicated to covering all four tiers – not just two teams.”
Kick-off is at 7.30pm
Tickets in advance are available via the ‘Get Tickets’ link or by calling 0333 043 1874 (option 1 then option 8, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat 9am-3pm).
Ticket on the gate will be available priced: Adults £5/Kids £2.