Turkey U21 v Scotland U21: Euro opener test of 'real strength in depth' - Scot Gemmill

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport Scotland
Scotland right-back Nathan Patterson
Nathan Patterson, who set up Scotland's winner against Moldova on Saturday, has been lost to the under-21 side
European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group I: Turkey v Scotland
Venue: Bursa Buyuksehir Stadium, Bursa Date: Tuesday, 7 September Time: 17:30 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Scotland channel, iPlayer and the BBC Sport website

Scot Gemmill says Scotland's opening European Under-21 Championship qualifier in Turkey will test his belief in their "strength in depth".

The head coach has had to draft in nine new faces to his squad after losing 10 players based in England because of Covid quarantine rules.

Group I second seeds Belgium have already won their first two matches, while Gemmill rates Denmark favourites.

"I think Belgium being a pot two team is quite exceptional," he says.

"We would all accept that Belgium are quite capable of being a pot one team, so that's the bit I'm surprised about. Denmark are the pot one team in the group and are consistently in pot one for a reason as they are very strong at every age level."

Scotland have not qualified for an under-21 finals since 1996, but Gemmill does not rule out their chances this time given the uncertainties involved in guessing the strength of the latest intake from each nation's youth systems.

However, as his side head to Bursa to face a Turkey side who lost 3-0 at home to Belgium on Friday, with the game on Tuesday being broadcast lie on BBC Scotland.

"It's about us trying to increase and improve our coefficient and trying to get out of pot four and into pot three," he said.

"Of course we are trying to qualify, of course we are trying to be competitive and develop the players towards the full squad, but I also think we are trying to improve our coefficient so that, when these draws take place, we can move into pot three."

Gemmill has not only lost players to Covid rules and the usual batch of players now over the age limit but also Nathan Patterson, the Rangers right-back now a permanent feature of the senior squad at 19.

He stresses, however, that it has just meant tapping into "a larger pool of players that are being constantly monitored".

"I think we've got real strength in depth," Gemmill adds. "This situation obviously tests that.

"We were always going to try to give these players an opportunity. It would have been nicer to have a bit more control over when we brought those players in and this has obviously fast-forwarded it. It is just the timing we've lost control of."