Oli Shaw’s omission from Scotland Under-21 squad is down to increased competition

Scot Gemmill has insisted that the omission of players such as Hibs striker Oli Shaw from his Scotland Under-21 squad for the start of their latest European Championship qualifying campaign is simply because he is now spoiled for choice.

Oli Shaw is seeking a loan move from Hibernian
Oli Shaw is seeking a loan move from Hibernian

While Hibs team-mates Ryan Porteous and Glenn Middleton have been included in Gemmills’ 22-man pool for matches against San Marino and Croatia, there was disappointment for Shaw, currently seeking a loan deal in search of more first-team action.

Shaw and Sean Mackie both featured in the young Scots’ last match, a friendly against Sweden played in Marbella in March but both have missed out as have the likes of Rangers’ Jake Hastie, Kilmarnock’s Iain Wilson and Barry Maguire of Motherwell, who also featured that day in Spain.

“This is the national Under-21s, so it should be hard to get in,” said Gemmill, who has named six uncapped players. “It’s great for us, some not there could have been in the squad. It shows the strength in depth. It’s not always been like that. Jake did well in March and has transferred club (from Motherwell to Ibrox), but there are others. Iain Wilson isn’t in the squad. In 18 months he’s played France, Brazil and Holland, beaten all three, and he’s not there.

“There’s Bary Maguire too. Moving forward will they be involved? Absolutely. You can see in the squad there are 15 or 16 who have already played for us. Some already have double figures in terms of caps.”

Gemmill says his entire focus is on the Under-21s having reportedly lost out to former Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke for the Scotland job earlier in the year.

“I see it in the past,” claimed the 48-year-old. “I am hugely honoured to have this post and I value it more than ever.

“If I was close to getting the Scotland position then hopefully that shows that I have been doing a good job and that’s it really.

“It’s about what is best for the national team. Steve Clarke was back-to-back manager of the year. He was a really popular choice, he was the right man in the right place at the right time. Everyone is delighted he is Scotland manager and we are all trying to support him as much as possible. My job is with the 21s, to support the full team and help Scotland get the best results moving forward.”