Scotland U-21s at Pittodrie Scotland U21s v USA

By Kevin Stirling

International football returns to Pittodrie on 7th September when the Scotland U-21 side will face Austria. By tradition the north east has always proved to be passionate supporters of the national team and hopefully a crowd will once again help to Scots in their must win match.

The first ever Scotland U-21 match took place in Pilsen in Czechoslovakia on 12th October 1976. Previously the U-23 set up was perceived as outdated and with so many nations giving youth its chance in the full international team, the decision was taken to reduce the age limit but allow two overage players to play in any one game.

For the trip to Eastern Europe for the European Championship qualifier, Aberdeen keeper Bobby Clark was selected along with Hibernian legend Pat Stanton who was also Alex Ferguson's first assistant manager at Pittodrie in 1978.

Bobby recalls the trip; "We played in Pilsen and after the game went into Prague and watched the full team play.

"Pat Stanton and I were the two over-age players and we managed a 0-0 tie. It was a tight game and Andy Roxburgh, our coach, was reasonably satisfied. George Burley played, so I suppose there were two future Scottish managers involved that day. One thing I remember about the field was there were only two floodlight stanchions as opposed to the normal four. We were curious to see how they worked but never found out as it was an afternoon game. It was fun being an over age player and I went on to play further games against Wales and Switzerland. In the game against Wales I played with Kenny Watson (Rangers) and this was special for me as I had taught Kenny at Kaimhill School in Aberdeen.

Bobby Clark"The U21 caps meant I could say that I was capped at Amateur, Youth (18s), U21s, U23s, League International and Full International levels."

The Scotland side that battled out a 0-0 draw that night was; Bobby Clark, George Burley, Arthur Albiston, Pat Stanton, Roy Aitken, Tommy Burns, Dave Cooper, John Wark, Dave McNiven, Dave Narey and Paul Sturrock. Remarkably only McNiven never went on to play for the full international side from that team. While that game in Pilsen was officially recognised as the first ever U-21 match, the Scottish team actually had a run out against a Kilmarnock side at Rugby Park in preparation for the tie. A crowd of 2,859 saw the young Scots win 3-0. Former Aberdeen manager Steve Paterson came on for the Scots in the second half; replacing a young Roy Aitken.

While Bobby Clark at 32, may have been looking towards the end of his career, for another young Aberdeen keeper it was just the beginning by the time the first U-21 international was played at Pittodrie some two years later. Against the USA in September 1978 Jim Leighton played for the Scots weeks after he made his full debut for Aberdeen. Also in the Scotland team that day was a young Alex McLeish.

Without doubt the most memorable U-21 match at Pittodrie was without doubt the young Scots finest hour in 1992 when Scotland defeated Germany in an incredible match. After a 1-1 draw in Bochum, hopes were high but manager Craig Brown guarded against the Germans ability to score at Pittodrie. Those fears were realised as the Germans went into a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. With the Scots looking down and out, they clawed their way back into the tie when Duncan Ferguson set up Ray McKinnon to score just before half time.

Despite being backed by the passionate home support Germany scored a third on the hour mark to put themselves seemingly out of reach. However in one of the most stunning comebacks seen at the old stadium, Gerry Creaney headed past Stefan Klos in 68 minutes before Paul Lambert levelled the tie in 78 minutes after a McKinnon shot had struck the post. Bedlam ensued as the crowd urged on the Scots in a frantic finale.

Two minutes from time Alex Rae scored a sensational goal to put the Scots through to the semi finals of the European Championships. No less than four Aberdeen players were in the Scots starting line up on that historic occasion; Michael Watt, Stephen Wright, Gary Smith and Eoin Jess.


Scotland U-21 Record at Pittodrie

17.9.1978

Scotland 3:1 USA

Melrose, Orr, MacLeod

6,700

4.3.1980

Scotland 0:0 England

25,000

18.11.1980

Scotland 2:1 Denmark

Watson, Gillespie

11,000

24.3.1982

Scotland 0:0 Italy

20,000

14.3.1984

Scotland 2:1 Yugoslavia

Johnston, McClair

17,000

16.2.1988

Scotland 0:1 England

23,000

24.3.1992

Scotland 4:3 Germany

McKinnon, Creaney, Lambert, Rae

22,000

22.4.1992

Scotland 0:0 Sweden

22,000

1.9.2006

Scotland 1:3 France

Adam

11,950

26.3.2008

Scotland 2:1 Finland

McDonald, Naismith

3,240


RedImages |

Scotland U21s v USA 1978

Scotland U21s v USA 1978

Scotland U21s v USA 1978

Scotland U21s v USA 1978

Scotland U21s v England 1980

Mark McGhee celebrates as Scotland score against Denmark U-21's at Pittodrie in 1980

Paul Gascoigne tackles Ian Ferguson at Pittodrie in 1988

Scotland Team v Germany U21 1992

Scotland U21s v Germany 1992

Scotland U21s v Sweden 1992

Eoin Jess in action against Sweden in the 1992 U-21 EC semi final at Pittodrie

Scotland U21s v France 2006

Scotland U21s v France 2006

Scotland U21s v Finland 2008