Ryan Porteous insists Scotland Under-21s will have no fear as they bid to pull off an away victory over the Netherlands and seize control of the battle for second place in their Euro 2019 qualification group.
England look likely to win the section and qualify automatically for the finals in Italy and San Marino. But a confident 3-0 win over Andorra last Thursday has left Scotland in a position whereby they can leapfrog the Dutch and take a big step towards landing a possible play-off if they follow up their 2-0 win over the Oranje in Paisley a year ago when the two teams meet again in Doetinchem on Tuesday evening.
“The lads beat Holland last time so we’ll take confidence from that and we’ll take confidence from the three goals and the clean sheet we got against Andorra,” said Porteous. “Hopefully we can get a win and get ourselves into second place.”
The Hibs defender, who was promoted to the Under-21 set-up for this summer’s Toulon tournament after excelling in younger age-groups, is relishing another outing against one of Europe’s traditional heavyweights. “Over the last couple of years I’ve had the privilege of playing against big nations like France, England and Germany so this will be another good experience for me,” he said. “Hopefully we can make it even better by getting a win.”
Porteous is hoping to continue developing a fruitful partnership with 21-year-old Hamburg centre-back David Bates, formerly of Raith Rovers and Rangers. “I feel me and David have clicked instantly, even in training and off the park as well,” said the 19-year-old. “Having a relationship is probably the most important thing for a back two or a back three. I enjoyed playing with him, he’s a very good player who can play with both feet. He’s good in the air and he’s a big physical boy. I’m actually surprised this is his first call-up because he’s a great player. He helped me through that game on Thursday. He was always talking. He’s played loads of first-team football so he’s got good experience for this level.”
Porteous hopes he and Bates can follow the likes of Jack Hendry, Scott McKenna and John Souttar in stepping up to swell the number of young centre-backs in the full Scotland set-up. “Over the last ten, 20 years, there maybe haven’t been so many Scottish centre-backs but now it seems like we’ve got a handful coming through,” he said. “Jack, Scott and Soapy have made the step up. I think we can all push each other on in the coming years and we can also help each other because we can all take aspects from each other’s games.”