ZAK RUDDEN scored a powerful header for Scotland U17s against European giants France yesterday but sadly it wasn’t enough for the kids to progress in the competition.

Lewis Mayo, Jordan Houston and Rudden all featured in the last group game of the competition in Croatia needing a single point to progress to the next round.

Mayo formed a solid partnership with Stephen Welsh at the centre of defence, Houston continued to play in a full back position and Rudden was part of a front three alongside Jack Aitchison and Glen Middleton

All three played prominent roles for their country as they had in the previous matches of the group stages. Lyon’s Amine Gouiri opened the scoring in the match within the first forty five minutes, but Rudden grabbed an equaliser into the second half.

Elliot Watt curled a corner in from the Scotland left and Rudden powered in front of his marker and met the ball cleanly with his head to draw Scott Gemmell’s side level.

The French side pushed hard for the goal that would see them progress in the competition and would hit the woodwork three times in the closing stages before Gouiri snatched a winner in the last minute of normal time.

Speaking to the Scottish Sun, Scotland manager Gemmell said: “Most people wouldn’t have expected Scotland to come out and score against France. Most people would have thought France would come out and get the second goal, but this team is not like that.

“They showed the fight and the belief they’ve got. France had to go for it at some point because they had to qualify. But in terms of this Scotland team taking the game to them, that was very encouraging.

“Think about who they’ve played this year – Portugal, Serbia, Japan. They’ve beaten them, never mind competed with them. We’ve played against one of the most famous nations in Europe and they weren’t overawed in the slightest.”

SCOTLAND | McCracken (GK), Mayo, Church, Welsh, Mitchell, Aitchison (Cpt.), Watt, Rudden (Cameron 73), Middleton (Deas 78), McInroy (Ross 63), Houston.
Subs not used: Mullen (GK), Hutchison, Smith, Reid.

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