Underestimating Georgia last thing on Stark’s mind

Billy Stark and Gordon Strachan
Billy Stark and Gordon Strachan
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Coach Billy Stark insists there is no chance of Scotland Under-21s underestimating the threat of Georgia in their European Championship qualifier.

The Scots suffered defeat away from home in their last Group 3 outing to the Georgians and will be aiming to make amends when they meet again in Paisley.

But, despite not being one of the more “fashionable” names in world football, Stark believes tonight’s opponents are a nation with plenty of quality in their ranks.

He said: “I don’t think anyone should be fooled by them being ‘wee Georgia’ – I think Georgia has a bigger population than us. Their coach, Aleksandr Chivadze, racked up more than 60 caps for the USSR and was part of that great Dinamo Tbilisi team. “They’ve got a pedigree in terms of producing players. We never underestimate them.”

Stark would love to see Stevie May take his blistering scoring form into the clash with Georgia. The St Johnstone forward has netted 11 goals for his club so far this term, including three in the last two games.

Stark said: “Stevie is a young lad who has done exceptionally well. He was asked to go on loan to Alloa in the Second Division and he scored 20-odd goals. He then went out on loan to Hamilton in the First Division and scored 20-odd goals there. Now, the mantle has been thrown down for doing it in the Premier League.

“He’s into double figures and we are only in November. He is consistently proving to people that he can handle it.

“His first international goal against Slovakia for us was a big thing as well. We are hoping he can keep going.

“We’ve got a lot of players who are scoring. If you look at the weekend, Andy Robertson, Callum Paterson, Stevie May and Ryan Gauld all scored. That gives you a lift.”