Gemmill relishing the challenge

Scot Gemmill insists there is talent coming through the Scotland ranks and believes he is the right man to harness it at under-21 level.

Gemmill has replaced Ricky Sbragia as under-21 head coach after a 4-0 defeat in Ukraine on Tuesday ended their qualifying hopes for next summer’s European Championship finals.

Sbragia was to some extent a victim of the own success with Scotland’s youth set-up, having seen several developing players selected for the full national team. Jack Hamilton, John McGinn, Callum Paterson, Kieran Tierney, Oliver Burke and Andy Robertson were all named in Scotland’s squad for the World Cup qualifier in Malta despite being eligible for the under-21s.

Gemmill said in a statement: “I am very proud to have been given the opportunity to coach the under-21s. After working with the under-17s and under-19s, I feel ready for and excited by the challenge ahead.

“I believe we have a number of very talented young players coming through and I will do everything I can to support their development and prepare them for the senior squad.

“We have less than a year to prepare for the start of the next European Championship qualifiers and the hard work will begin in October for the matches against Iceland and Macedonia.”

Sbragia will stay on to work with the under-16s, 17s and 19s while also helping mentor the Scottish Football Association’s Performance School coaches and lower-age national youth team coaches.

Gemmill declared Sbragia had been “invaluable” for his own development and the former Manchester United coach and Sunderland manager remains committed to the task of helping produce Scotland players.

“It was disappointing to miss out on a place at next summer’s European Championship, but succession planning is something we have discussed for a while at the Scottish FA and it was always the intention for Scot to move to the 21s for the next campaign,” Sbragia said.

“Scot is a very talented coach and deserves the chance to make the step up to under-21 level and work with the players he knows well from under-17 and under-19 level.

“I enjoyed working with the under-21s and feel proud to have helped provide Gordon Strachan with a number of players for his senior squad.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of working with our younger age groups and helping develop our Performance School and national youth team coaches.”

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