Russell targets win treble

Thu, 01 Mar 11:34:25 2012

Johnny Russell believes Scotland must win all three of their remaining games to advance from Under-21 European Championships qualifying Group 10 after their goalless draw with Holland at St Mirren Park.

With the 10 group winners and four leading runners-up advancing to a play-off to decide the seven teams to join hosts Israel at the 2013 finals, Scotland sit a point behind pacesetters Holland.

Russell said: "We will need to win our remaining three games to qualify and I just hope one of the other sides can take something from the Dutch. The other teams have the quality to do that. Austria ran them close last time and only lost 1-0 thanks to a wonder goal from Nacer Barazite. I hope they can take a point or three next time."

Scotland next play Bulgaria away on May 31 before September's concluding matches at home to Luxembourg and away to Austria, while Holland play Luxembourg away and at home to Bulgaria and Austria.

In a match of few clear-cut chances on Wednesday night, Dundee United forward Russell was denied midway through the second half after being played through by substitute Scott Allan as unbeaten Scotland missed the chance to go top of the group.

Russell said: "I thought I had scored and, on looking back, I should have gone for the near post rather than trying to put the ball across the keeper (Jeroen Zoet). I felt we had the better of the chances and I should have taken mine."

Scotland Under-21 boss Billy Stark has always known his side face a challenging task to advance and was pleased with the result.

He said: "At the beginning we knew it was going to be a really difficult task to qualify from the group.

"We're competing fully. We've played five games and that includes two games against the Dutch. Four points from them is quite a good return. It was one of those games we could've won or could've lost.

"We were consistently tested defensively and we stood up to that and we still produced moments that could've produced a goal that unfortunately we just didn't get the final touch on."


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