Belfast Telegraph

Jim Magilton: Northern Ireland young guns must learn from Scotland defeat

Scotland 3-1 Northern Ireland

By Stuart McKinley

Jim Magilton hopes that his Northern Ireland Under-21s learn from the second-half of their European Championship qualifier against Scotland.

Leading 1-0 at the break thanks to Shay McCartan's 13th-minute goal and a penalty save from Conor Brennan, Northern Ireland conceded three times in the second period with substitute Oliver McBurnie levelling in the 58th minute before Jason Cummings atoned for his spot-kick miss by scoring twice.

"We were organised and knew we could be a threat from set-pieces so the game plan worked, but we knew they would have to change and we made our lads aware of it. We switched off at important moments and were punished," said Magilton.

Northern Ireland are bottom of their group with one point, but Magilton isn't focusing on that.

"We understand our Under-21 side is about trying to get some players through to the senior team. Michael O'Neill will select them," said Magilton.

"In one of his first games in the job, Michael went to see the Under-21s play Macedonia and out of that game, five or six are now in the senior team.

"It's a tough learning curve but if they make mistakes, they make them at this level and that will stand them in good stead if they get to the next level."

Scotland: Hamilton, Love, McGhee, Souttar, Kingsley, Nicholson, Storie, Gauld, McKay, Christie, Cummings. Subs: Henly, Hyam, Findlay, Henderson, Smith, Polworth, McBurnie.

Northern Ireland: Brennan, Dummigan, L Donnelly, Johnson, Gorman, Conlan, McLaughlin, Maloney, Duffy, McCartan, Kennedy. Subs: Mitchell, Sharpe, Sendles-White, Cooper, McKnight, J Donnelly, McDaid.

Referee: Craig Pawson (England).

Northern Ireland's Under-19s lost 2-0 to Ukraine in the final game of their European Championship Elite qualifiers.

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