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Stark reality for Scotland
Published : 03 Feb 2011 20:30:20
Scotland Under-21 coach Billy Stark admitted his disappointment at seeing his side go into the latest European qualifying draw as third seeds after his team were paired with Holland and old foes Austria.
Holland, who lost in the play-offs for this summer's finals like Scotland, were top seeds and Austria, who Scotland beat to top spot in their group, were second. Scotland will also face Bulgaria and Luxembourg in their quest to reach the finals of the 2013 UEFA Under-21 Championship, with the action set to kick off in March this year.
"We were pretty hopeful of moving up a pot this year after reaching the play-offs last time round. But then we were seeded third last year and won the group so we won't linger on it," Stark told www.scottishfa.co.uk.
"As with all draws you come away feeling it could have been better, but it also could have been worse. The most important part now is entering into the fixture meeting and trying to get a favourable schedule out of the discussions.
"In the last campaign we took a double header against Albania early on and took six points, so that worked well for us. But the dynamics of this group are different again."
Stark will gather his squad together for a three-day training camp next week, during which they will played two bounce games.
"We played closed-door games at this stage last campaign and I feel I can see more of the players during these games," Stark said.
"We don't have the restrictions of UEFA substitution rules so I can see all of the players in action this way."
The 10 group winners and four best runners-up will go into play-offs to join hosts Israel in the eight-team tournament in the summer of 2013.