Hibs defender Ryan Porteous urged to 'maintain aggressive streak' by Scotland U21 boss

Ryan Porteous in action for Scotland Under-21s at Tynecastle last OctoberRyan Porteous in action for Scotland Under-21s at Tynecastle last October
Ryan Porteous in action for Scotland Under-21s at Tynecastle last October
Aggressive edge ‘crucial at elite level’

Scotland Under-21 boss Scot Gemmill has urged Ryan Porteous to retain his aggressive streak - insisting it is a key component if the Hibernian stopper wants to make it to the top.

The Easter Road defender made headlines during Sunday's 2-2 draw with Rangers, being booked for an off-the-ball tussle with Alfredo Morelos before getting involved in a spat at the final whistle with Gers skipper James Tavernier and boss Steven Gerrard as they snubbed his offer of a handshake.

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Gerrard claimed the 21-year-old had accused Tavernier of being a "bad loser'' - an accusation he then redirected at Porteous as he brought up last year's red-card tackle on Borna Barisic.

But Gemmill - who has named Porteous in his squad for next month's European Championship qualifying double header with the Czech Republic and San Marino - reckons that aggressive edge is crucial at the elite level.

He said: "Ryan is proving he is a real competitor and his performances show that.

"Whether for us or for his club, he is a really solid defender. He's got real character and real presence.

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"I think it's about the balance and he's very conscious of the need to really channel that aggression and the way he uses his physicality when he plays.

"At the same time we all want our players to have character and resilience, determination and ambition.

"Ryan just needs to find that balance but I think we need to look to the positives. We crave that in our top players.

"I don't think you can be a top player without having that edge. I speak to the players about this before every game. Your opponent is trying to beat you and embarrass you, so you have to take it personally.

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"I love to see that [aggressive streak] in the team. You need to have it to be successful.''

The Scots can move to within a point of top spot in Group D with victory over the Czechs, but Gemmill knows his side will have to prove they can cope with the pressure first.

"Playing the Czech Republic was always going to be a really big game, regardless of the circumstances.

“But we want our young players to have that experience of playing against the best opposition we can.

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