Apr 19 2012 By Gordon Parks
LAWRENCE Shankland insists playing at St James’ Park will stay with him for the rest of his life despite Scotland Under-18s’ defeat to England.
The 16-year-old was part of an 18-strong squad in the Lloyds TSB Cup, including fellow Glaswegians Kieran Hughes, Ryan McGeever, Conor McVey and Gary Duggan, assembled by manager Stewart Taylor for their final fixture in the Boys’ Centenary Shield.
Second-half goals from Michael Sweet and Peter Glen-Ravenhill gave the Auld Enemy a 2-0 victory which leaves Scotland in fourth place but Bannerman High School pupil Shankland remains focused on his development.
The Queen’s Park starlet, watched by Gordon Strachan, was unable to help his side replicate the 4-0 win over Northern Ireland in their opening fixture but said: “It was amazing. I’ve never played in a stadium like that with so many fans.
“It puts a bit of pressure on you to see if you can handle it. I was a little nervous before the match and the crowd were getting louder and louder as England attacked. You could really hear it.
“It was a little bit hectic at times. We know we can play better football but we just rushed it a bit. I don’t know if the occasion got to us.
“Personally I thought I did well on the ball. I could have had a bit more service, we just tended to lump it forward, but it happens. I’ll remember this for the rest of my life but that’s us finished now as an age group. I’ve just got to keep going and try to get into next year’s squad.”
Strachan, Lloyds TSB Scotland’s Scottish Schools’ Football Ambassador, gave a pre-match team talk to Taylor’s young charges and was pleased with what he saw.
The 55-year-old former Scotland midfielder said: “I thought it was a smashing game. Scotland played well and didn’t deserve to lose. Every game is a development for these young lads and they will bounce back.”
Lloyds TSB Scotland, proud partner of the Scottish Schools’ FA, is delighted to support the Scotland U18 squad for their 2012 Centenary Shield Campaign. For all the latest news visit scottishfa.co.uk/ssfa