France Under-21s too strong for Scots, says Ricky Sbragia

By Martin DowdenBBC Scotland at Pittodrie
Stephen Haller playing for France Under-21s against Scotland Under-21s
France Under-21s won 2-1 against their Scottish coutnerparts

Scotland under-21 coach Ricky Sbragia described their French opponents as "exceptional" after his side lost 2-1 at Pittodrie.

The visitors claimed their first win of European Championship Qualifying Group 3 as the Scots suffered a maiden loss.

France appeared to have more quality in key areas, a fact accepted by Sbragia.

"They didn't disappoint us," he said. "We knew exactly what their strengths were, the power and physique of the players and the pace of the team."

Stephen Kingsley's attempted clearance ricocheted off team-mate Stuart Findlay and into the net to give the French an early lead.

Scotland Under-21 forward Ryan Gauld
Ryan Gauld will miss Scotland's next game after being sent off

Corentin Tolisso fired a second before Scotland's Billy King pulled one back from close range late on.

"We knew it was always going to be difficult," Sbragia said. "We always thought the first goal would be the difference. It was a bad goal from our point of view.

"It's difficult against a very good team with some exceptional individuals."

Scotland, who beat Northern Ireland in their only other group game, face a crucial home match on Tuesday against an Iceland side who have started very strongly with 10 points from their opening four games.

The Scots will be without Sporting Lisbon's Ryan Gauld, who earned a straight red card after taking Marcus Coco out of play as France broke in numbers.

"He's given the ball away in an area we talk about that we shouldn't be giving it away," added the Scotland Under-21 coach.

"He's lunged in, it's one of these ones he might book him or send him off but he's given a red card. He's disappointed and obviously we're going to miss him as he's a talented young player."

Top Stories