Football: Craig laments Finnish setback: England and Scotland youngsters fail to live up to expectations

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

SCOTTISH football's list of disasters grew even longer on Tuesday night with the latest entry reading: Finland Under-21 1 Scotland Under-21 0.

It was a depressing performance by the young Scots, coached by Tommy Craig, who lost to a seventh-minute penalty by Sami Ristila in the European Under-21 Championship Group Eight game in Salo.

This was a team who included Neil Murray and Steven Pressley, who have played European Cup football with Rangers; the Celtic striker Simon Donnelly, whose appearances have brought much acclaim in the past; the Dundee winger Neil McCann, apparently the subject of a pounds 1m inquiry from Celtic, and Christian Dailly, who was winning his 19th cap at this level.

Yet they failed miserably to create chances against a Finnish side who grew in confidence after Hugh Robertson conceded a penalty for a foul on Toni Huttunen, one of Finland's best performers.

McCann's early cross hit a post but there was precious little else in the first-half to excite Scotland other than a fine turn and shot by Donnelly. With 11 minutes left the substitute Barry Lavety was unlucky to see his shot hit the inside of a post and rebound to safety, but Scotland scarcely deserved a point.

Craig insisted that he has a 'team full of talent' who simply did not perform to their potential. He said: 'We had a lot of possession. I feel we are capable of so much more, but we had too many players off the boil.'

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