Scotland U21s 0-0 Lithuania U21s: Hosts frustrated in Euro 2021 qualifying
Northern Ireland U21s also suffer first loss of qualifying campaign
By Charles Paterson
Last Updated: 10/10/19 8:40pm
Scotland's U21s endured a frustrating evening as they failed to break down a stubborn Lithuania side, drawing 0-0 in their U21 Euros 2021 qualifier.
Joint top of Group D heading into the game after wins against San Marino and Croatia, Scotland dominated possession at Tynecastle but lacked a cutting edge. Everton striker Fraser Hornby had the best opportunity in the first half when his shot was well saved by the legs of Lithuanian goalkeeper Titus Krapikas.
Glenn Middleton tested Krapikas with a pair of thumping free kicks, but the match fizzled out in the second half. Scotland head to the Czech Republic on Monday.
Much pre-match hype had surrounded Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour, who recently made his first-team debut at Stamford Bridge, but the 18-year old struggled to impose himself as Lithuania allowed him little time on the ball early on. Instead much of the early positivity came through Hornby, an ideal target man to combat the visitor's physical approach.
Hornby had a clearer sight of goal when he latched onto George Johnston's flick, but Krapikas saved with his legs. From the corner, the Lithuanian goalkeeper was forced into another stop from Ryan Porteous' header.
The other Scot causing Lithuania problems was winger Glenn Middleton. After smashing an angled half-volley over the bar on 19 minutes, he then hammered a powerful free kick that Krapikas punched clear. He also clearly had the beating of right-back Ernestas Stockunas, but the final ball was lacking.
Scotland continued to press up to the interval, Hornby curling a free-kick just wide with Krapikas beaten. Gilmour then got a sight of goal but drove wide from 25 yards.
The second half brought teeming rain, but at the same time Scotland's chances dried up, as they struggled to penetrate a resolute Lithuanian defence. Scot Gemmill introduced Connor McLennan and Steven Kelly in an attempt to break open the stalemate.
It wasn't until the 75th minute that Middleton had Scotland's next opportunity, firing a free kick wide. The winger, who is on loan at Hibernian from Rangers, then sped to the byline with defenders stumbling in his wake, but Kelly couldn't convert the cutback.
Northern Ireland suffer first defeat
Northern Ireland suffered the first defeat of their European U21 Championship qualifying campaign as they were beaten 2-1 by Denmark in Aalborg.
Borussia Monchengladbach defender Andreas Poulsen put the hosts ahead after half-an-hour when he met Jacob Bruun Larsen's corner. Northern Ireland keeper Conor Hazard got a hand to it, but the ball went in off the crossbar.
Leeds midfielder Alfie McCalmont set up Jake Dunwoody for the equaliser after 57 minutes, with the Stoke player firing into the bottom corner from 18 yards.
Northern Ireland looked to have earned a third straight draw but Heerenveen forward Jens Odgaard netted the winner with an overhead kick two minutes from time.
The result leaves Ian Baraclough's side with two points from three games, five adrift of early Group 8 pacesetters Finland.