They say the best thing about losing a game of football is the fact your next game is just around the corner.
But for Scotland fans still nursing a headache after last night’s Kazakh catastrophe, Sunday’s qualifier in San Marino is still far too far away for comfort.
Not that the Tartan Army will be taking three points against the 211th best team in the world for granted. Not after the stinker in Astana.
But lets take the chance to relieve ourselves of the utter tripe served up by Alex McLeish‘s men and look forward to a glimpse of what might become in the not too distant future.
Scot Gemmill’s under 21 side are in Marbella ready to lock horns with Mexico. And a quick look at the team sheet this afternoon shows there IS a reason to be optimistic as a Scotland fan. Yes, really, there is.
Here’s a starter for five…
Ross McCrorie (Rangers)
Hard to believe the holding midfielder-come-defender still qualifies at this level. Not only for the fact he has been playing in the top flight of Scottish football for three seasons now but also the huge strides he has made in his game. Under Gerrard at Rangers McCrorie has developed into one of the best holding midfielders in Scotland. His awareness, positional sense and ability to snuff out danger makes him a key player for club and country and at 20 he still has plenty of developing left in the tank.
David Turnbull (Motherwell)
What a season the Well midfielder is having. Nine goals in 26 appearances is not bad by anyone’s standards but it’s the quality of many of those goals that have really caught the eye. Turnbull has established himself in the new-look, youthful, Steelmen side and his penetrating runs from the middle to support the frontmen is a feature of the exciting brand of football on show at Fir Park these days.
Jake Hastie (Motherwell)
For Turnbull read Hastie. Another of the young guns who have helped fire Motherwell to the brink of the top six. The winger’s explosive form for club has earned him a first call up to the under 21 squad for the Marbella double header against Mexico and Sweden. With 10 goals to his name already this season the pacey, left sided forward’s form has caught the eye of Rangers as well as clubs south of the border.
Mikey Johnston (Celtic)
Breakthrough year at Celtic at the age of 19. Not bad by anyone’s standards. What Johnston lacks in stature he makes up for with his mental and physical sharpness. Often used in a wide area Johnston has chipped in with his fair share of goals for the Hoops’ second string this season and broke his duck for the top team in December against Motherwell. Definitely one to keep an eye on for the future.
Oli Shaw (Hibernian)
Pace, power (he’s 6ft 2in), a good touch and a clinical eye for goal … what’s not to like about Hibs’ youngster Oli Shaw? He also has the knack of scoring big goals at club level including two against Celtic last season. The 21-year-old is still behind Marc McNulty and Flo Kamberi in the striking stakes at Easter Road but with time has been tipped to go on and become a hero to the Hibees.