Billy Stark praise for Scots after win over Dutch

Mark Ridgers and Jordan Rhodes celebrate
Ridgers (centre) and Rhodes were both instrumental in Scotland's win

Billy Stark hailed his Scotland Under-21 players for having the confidence to take the Dutch on at their own game on the way to a 2-1 victory.

"We had some fantastic passages of play that resulted in some great efforts on goal, which were inches away," said the young Scots' manager.

The Netherlands came from a goal behind to be all square at the break.

"At half-time, I said to them to have the belief and confidence to play," said Stark.

David Wotherspoon drove home the 55th-minute winner to secure three points that put the Scots a point behind group favourites who until the defeat in Nijmegen had a 100% record in European Championship qualifying Group 10.

"We had to get more of the ball," said Stark, who thought the Scots had been rocked by the Dutch equaliser and urged them to return to their passing game.

"We ended up kicking it, which I think was a result of losing the goal and taking a blow to our confidence.

"We had to take it out from the back to buy ourselves time and show we can keep the ball.

"Once we did that, we were working Holland a bit more and we got into the game."

Jordan Rhodes goal in the opening minute was cancelled out when goalkeeper Mark Ridgers dropped an Adam Maher free-kick across his own line.

Stark thought the goal inspired Ridgers to prove himself as he earned his first Under-21 appearance after Grant Adam was dropped following a court appearance.

"From that moment on, he produces a tremendous save from the right winger to keep us level and was faultless through the rest of the game," said the manager.

"In some ways, that's a bonus for me that the has made that error and shown the character to bounce back and not show any sign of nerves or feeling sorry for himself."

Stark ultimately had no complaints about the goal despite it being unclear whether the whole ball crossed the goalline.

"It was a difficult one because the ball was in his hands," he said.

"We have given the linesman a bit of stick. I have not seen it, but we got word quite quickly, so we apologised to the linesman.

"He has made the right decision. You feel hard done-by because of the nature of the goal, but if it's over the line, it's over the line."

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