The Scottish Schools’ FA Under 18 boys’ side played their first international match of the season against a physically strong, very mature touring Australia Schools’ FA team on Wednesday.
The visitors won narrowly by 2-1 but the Scottish side, playing only their second game together, would be encouraged by their second half performance at New Western Park, Renfrew.
Australia started strongly and were given a perfect start when Scotland keeper Liam Prunty was caught in possession of the ball in his own box. The sharp Aussie forward had a tap in finish to put his side ahead after only two minutes.
Scotland tried to respond but the visitors had a fairly strong wind, the aftermath of Storm Jocelyn, at their backs and the home team struggled to gain control.
Captain Owen Doyle at centre back and right back Ali Nixon stood up to a real test against strong opponents.
After 35 minutes Australia were awarded a free kick centrally on the edge of the box. A powerfully struck well placed free kick found the back of the net and the visitors went in at half time with a comfortable and deserved two goal lead.
Scotland made some planned half time changes and came out for the second half in determined mood,
Amazingly the wind had gone during half time but Scotland did take control of the game with some excellent build up play and skilful play from wide mid fielders Aedan Gilfedder and Callum Graham. Substitute forward Jack Allan looked bright and he scored with a cool finish when through on goal around the hour mark.
Keeper Prunty made a great goal stopping save deflecting a fiercely hit shot over the bar but unfortunately two efforts from Reuben Cooper didn’t find the net.
Australia hung on to their lead to grab their narrow victory and frustrate the home team.
Scotland will hope that unfavourable weather will not disturb their preparation games planned. They will play Stirling Albion’s U20 team on Sunday 4th Feb at Forthbank 12.30 and then Glasgow University U20’s on 14th Feb at Renfrew 2.00 pm.
Their first Centenary Shield game is an away game against Republic of Ireland in Athlone on Thursday 29th of February.
Scotland’s team v Australia was :
Liam Prunty, Ali Nixon, Owen Doyle, Euan Bowie, Robbie Stewart, Shay Burke, Archie Gibson, Reuben Cooper, Stuart McDowell, Freddie Rowe and Flynn Mackay.
Subs used: Aedan Gilfedder, Matt Falconer, Jamie Lowe, Callum Graham and Jack Allan.
Unused subs: Logan Bryce.
Unavailable: Rohan Harkin and Jacob Shields.