Stark urges Scots U-21s to be wary of Dutch backlash

Have your say

Scotland Under-21 manager Billy Stark has warned his players to expect a Holland side intent on proving a point at St Mirren Park tonight.

But he challenged them to produce another complete performance when they aim for a UEFA qualifying double over the Dutch.

Scotland won 2-1 in Nijmegen in November thanks to goals from Jordan Rhodes and David Wotherspoon and played some impressive attacking football in the second half especially.

Stark said: “We have to say that we enjoyed the recognition and profile we got from winning in Holland, there is no doubt about that.

“We say to the players don’t be too high when you get praise and don’t be too low when you get criticism.

“But it’s human nature, you enjoy the feeling of getting a significant result and getting the praise from it.

“Will it help us? I think the one thing that is for sure is that the Dutch will hurt from that result.

“I think they fully expected to win it.

“There may have been an element of surprise from the way we played over there. That’s probably gone now as well. But you have to meet these challenges.

“We have shown we are capable, equally I know the Dutch are capable.

“We were able to play in a manner over there where we restricted them and were able to create as well.

“You don’t always get that package, particularly against a top team but that’s what we’ve been working on and that’s what we hope to get.”

Holland still lead the group after four games but Scotland are unbeaten, one point behind, after beating Luxembourg away and drawing at home to Bulgaria and Austria.

“We’re at the halfway stage with eight points and I think that’s healthy,” Stark said.

“You look at the 16-point mark to have any chance of qualifying.

“Sometimes you can get a situation if a group is cutting each other up, 14 or 15 points can win you the group.

“But you need to aim for 16 points and we’re halfway there.

“We look at the last four games and if we got three victories I would be supremely confident that would get a place in the play-off.

“Three victories out of four is the target but it’s easier to look at the next game and try to get as much as you can out of it.”