|Under 21 coach Billy Stark felt Chris Maguire's spectacular goal from the half-way line was a reflection of his side's spirit as he claimed last night's 2-1 play-off defeat by Iceland was a "travesty". Maguire scored from just inside the Iceland half seconds after Gylfi Sigurdsson had curled home the opener, but the £7million Hoffenheim midfielder netted another glorious goal six minutes later to secure a 4-2 aggregate win for the visitors. Jamie Murphy hit the post and Barry Bannan saw an effort cleared off the line in the first half at Easter Road as Scotland chased a 2-1 first-leg deficit. But Sigurdsson struck first in a tighter second period before quickly dampening the enthusiasm sparked by Maguire's sublime goal as Scotland restarted the game. Stark felt the late winner was an unjust reward for his players' efforts in the second leg of the UEFA Under-21 Championship play-off.
The national coach said: "When you have worked so hard and you feel that we should be ahead, to produce that seconds after losing a goal is phenomenal. Fair play to him, Chris did that, but I think that was a reflection of the way the players handled things throughout the campaign when they went behind. You saw that, the players pushed on after losing the second goal. It's a travesty that we lost that game. Whether we deserved to go through is another matter but to lose tonight was a travesty. It was a magnificent effort and a pretty good performance. I was absolutely proud of them, they showed against difficult opposition that they were prepared to take the ball at the back and pick the right passes, and we had players on that are prepared to beat players. There is a dearth of that type of player around and we had a few tonight. It was pretty unfair we weren't ahead at half-time. If that had happened the game would change. They got a fright and that was reflected in the coach making two changes at half-time."
Stark felt his side had coped well with the threat from long range until former Reading midfielder Sigurdsson hit two brilliant efforts in the final 20 minutes. Stark said: "Maybe tired legs meant we couldn't get close enough to him but that quality of strike is something you don't see too often".
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