Scotland Under 21 1 Georgia Under 21 1

14 November 2013 09:39
Honours even but chances missed for Scotland to come out on top. An uneven performance overall. Scotland headed into tonight’s UEFA Under 21 Championship group game second bottom of Group 3 after playing four games. Their last game was against the same opponents in Tbilisi last month with the home side running out 2-1 winners. The chill of the evening did not appear to affect the youngsters heading into St Mirren Park ahead of the game as they practiced their chants for tonight’s home side. Not the largest crowd I have seen in Paisley for an under 21 game but the cold will have affected some decisions. Gordon Strachan and his assistants Mark McGhee and Stuart McCall were interested observers in the stand.

Calum Paterson saves Scotland's blushes (c) Craig Jardine |

Scotland settled earliest and were tricky in and around the visitors goal. Ryan Gauld did not look out of place and appeared to be about to have a good playing relationship with St Johnstone’s Stevie May.  Georgia also had a player of similar stature as Gauld in Jano Ananidze who managed to keep Aiden McGeady out of the Spartak Moscow team when he was there. One to be watched during the game we had been informed. While Georgia may have had the first shot on target when Valeri Qazaishvili drove in and shot straight at Jordan Archer in Scotland’s goal, it was the home side which looked the more likely to score in the early stages of the game. May had obviously been identified as someone to be closely managed and the very tall Solomon Kvirkvelia was charged with making his presence felt. Typically, after Scotland making a bright enough start, just after the half-hour Georgia scored.  Qazaishvili drove into the centre of the penalty box before feeding Giorgi Chanturia on his left whose shot hit off the inside of Archer’s left hand post and into the net. That wasn’t in the script. The second half started like the first with Scotland buzzing but being ineffectual when in front of goal. Some good play but a little too tight interplay which allowed Georgia to break up the move. Scotland were making hard work of the game with Georgia becoming more comfortable and dangerous as the minutes ticked by. Substitutions, one through injury, did not improve Scotland’s goal threat but did liven up the front line. However it was the visitors who still carried more of the threat to add to their tally. They were not looking to walk the ball into the net but did give their colleagues options for a pass. Bit all was not lost as Calum Patterson was on the end of a training pitch free kick move to get the equaliser with five minutes to go. Two Scotland players split from the wall to distract the defence as they ran to the back post which allowed Paterson to climb above the defence and head the ball home. This brightened up the last few minutes but Scotland still lack a bit of confidence when opportunities arose and would rather pass than take the responsibility to take a shot. However, substitute Stuart Findlay did sting Giori Nardiradze’s fingertips when his well struck shot was heading the top corner before the keeper turned it round his post. And that really was that. Missed opportunities to get off on the right foot and paid the penalty of only being able to pick up one point.Scotland: Archer, Jack, McGhee, Findlay, McGeouch  (McLean 57), Gauld, McGregor (Paterson 69), Armstrong, Robertson, Macleod, MaySubs: Kettings, McHattie, Bannigan, Kerr, HandlingGeorgia: Nardiradze, Kvekveskiri, Kobakhidze, Kvirkvelia, Ubilava, Jigauri, Papava, Parunashvili, Qazaishvili (Kirkitadze 67), Ananidze, ChanturiaSubs: Meshveliani, Grigalashvili, Chapadze, Pantsulaia, SkhirtladzeAttendance: 1,737Referee: Alain Bieri (Switzerland)

Source: ScottishFitba