If the full team can match up the the Under 21s when they tackle Iceland, Berti Vogts will heave a huge sigh of relief. The inclusion of Kevin Kyle after his demotion from the senior squad stung him into scoring the opening goal. The victory was assured when substitute Simon Lynch got the second in the last minute. This means that Rainer Bonhof and his team have made a better start that his friend Vogts in their European Championship qualifying campaign. Not bad for a squad which had been depleted by a total of nine of Bonhof's original selection. The team did have three players with full international experience in Gary Caldwell, Kyle and Gareth Williams which allowed the boys to have a degree of confidence going into the match.
The Hibs combination of Ian Murray (captain) and Tam McManus set the tone for the night when the latter was put clean through in the third minute by the former. Unfortunately, McManus was a touch too fast when he took the ball past advancing goalkeeper Omar Johannsson and the ball ran out of play. The home team responded through Hannes Sigurdsson. As Gretar Rafn Steinsson crossed from the right, Sigurdsson was waiting in the box. However, Dundee's Soutar in goal was quick to come out and managed to deflect the ball past his right-hand post. The opening goal came in the 17th minute from a corner. Williams took the kick and Caldwell the ball back into the six-yard box from the back post. Sunderland's Kyle was not waiting for a second invitation and crashed the ball high into the net with his right peg.
This gave Scotland more confidence and they pressed for another to tie the game up. Williams sent a pass towards McManus who tried to send the ball towards goal. The ball did not get past an Iceland defender and the rebound fell to Williams who managed to blast the ball well over the bar. Kyle was hoping to catch Sigurdsson off guard with a long range effort but he shot straight at the goalkeeper. The McManus-Williams double act linked up again to threaten the home goal. Williams sent McManus scampering towards goal but Johannsson came out quickly to block the shot. The ball rebounded off McManus and looped over the crossbar.
Iceland were not lying down to Scotland and they could have equalised in the 43rd minute. Hannes Sigurdsson was waiting unmarked in front of goal when Steinsson sent in a cross from the right. Luckily for Scotland Sigurdsson failed to connect and the chance went abegging. It was becoming evident that it was not going to be McManus' night. Just after the restart Stuart Duff sent in a through ball, but McManus failed to even hit the target from an inviting angle. Scotland's Soutar wasalive to the shot from Steinsson, who had been benefited from a reverse pass from Hannes Sigurdsson. As the game moved on Darren Fletcher linked himself to Scotland rather than the Republic of Ireland when he came on for Stephen Hughes. Fletcher is qualified to play for both countries. Or rather he was. The final move of the game made the game safe for Scotland when substitute Lynch scored an 89th-minute goal. He managed to execute a fine chip over the isolated Johansson. All it needs now is a repeat performance by the senior squad.
After the game coach Bonhof said: "I wouldn't say I'm delighted but we have a little bit more confidence because the second half was only a defending battle. In the first half we had three good chances, although we allowed the opposition two, which was the worst part. Beginning the campaign with a win is excellent. I was very impressed with the way they stuck to the task."
Iceland U21: Johansson, Skulason, Gudmundsson, Arnarsson, Armann Smari Bjornsson, Indridi Sigurdsson, Steinsson, Danielsson, Hannes Sigurdsson, Sigmundur Kristjansson, Ellert Jon Bjornsson
Subs: Jonsson, Mete, Porsteinsson, Thorvaldsson, Hjalmsson.
Scotland U21: Soutar, Duff, Caldwell, Murray, Kennedy, Doig, Kerr, Williams, Hughes, Kyle, McManus
Subs: Gordon, McCunnie, Simmons, Hammell, Fletcher, McLean, Lynch