Young Scots hold Denmark to draw after stunning Kelly free kick

Scott Gemmill's side rounded off a disappointing European Championship qualifying campaign with a battling point against the Danes.

Scotland under-21’s hold Denmark to draw after stunning Stephen Kelly free kick SNS Group

Scotland’s under-21 side were denied a winning conclusion to their European Championship qualifying campaign despite taking the lead against Denmark through a spectacular Stephen Kelly free kick.

The Rangers youngster rattled in his effort off the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards moments before the interval after a battling defensive display, only for Maurits Kjaergaard to level in the second period.

The point in Velje means Scott Gemmill’s side will finish second-bottom of Group I behind the Danes, Turkey and Belgium with just a solitary win over Kazakhstan from their eight matches.

Aberdeen’s Connor Barron and Newcastle United’s Elliot Anderson had both impressed in the stalemate with Belgium on Saturday, but missed out through suspension and injury respectively.

Kelly and Dundee’s Josh Mulligan replaced them, however the visitors showed little in the way of attacking intent during a first half in which their hosts dominated.

St Johnstone keeper Ross Sinclair was forced into a catalogue of saves, most notably from Morten Frendrup and an impressive double block to deny Gustav Isaksen.

The young Scots had failed to find the net in their last three outings, but that drought was ended in sensational style in first half stoppage time.

Mulligan collapsed under pressure from two Danish defenders to win a soft free kick and Kelly stepped up to curl beyond the grasp of Mads Hermansen for a surprise advantage.

Sinclair made further saves to prevent Frendrup and Casper Tengstedt from drawing the Danes level and when Rasmus Hojlund found space in the tightly-packed Scotland box, he could only drag his effort wide.

However the hosts always looked likely to score and there was little Sinclair could do to prevent Kjaergaard’s rasping drive from the edge of the area finding the bottom corner after Rasmus Carstensen’s cross.

Brondby forward Mathias Kvistgaarden nodded against the crossbar in the closing stages before a series of Denmark corners were defended as Scotland held on for a point.

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