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Bully for us.. we're finally streetwise to con merchants; SCOTLAND LATEST.

John Souttar has spent years watching European youth teams bully and con Scotland.

So the Hearts defender was delighted to give Holland a dose of their own medicine in midweek when Scott Gemmill's Under-21s beat the Dutch 2-0.

A hugely impressive display from Souttar and Co got their Euro Championship qualifying campaign off to a flier. But it wasn't just the result and performance that pleased the centre-back.

Without condoning cheating, Souttar, 20, loved the professional manner in which Gemmill's boys saw out the game - by winning free-kicks and corners late on.

He said: "You could see that we were smart. We were clever.

"We were going down when there were nicks on us. What foreigners would do to us, we were doing it to them. It happens in football, I've seen it over the years.

"I've been involved in Scottish youth teams and when I've seen it, I've thought, 'I wish we could go down when we get nicked'.

"But it's clever. You get touched, you go down, you get yourself further up the pitch. We were good at that against the Dutch.

"And we also kept the ball in the corner for the last few minutes at 2-0 up. That might not have happened in the past - Scotland being completely streetwise.

"Another thing was that we looked physically stronger. We bullied them in places on the pitch where we haven't done in a while.

"I know it's our first game. We can't get carried away and we have two big games next month. But it's a hell of a start for us."

Scotland face group favourites England in Middlesbrough next month before travelling to take on Latvia. Souttar says Gemmill's boys are full of confidence in their bid to reach the Euros in 2019. He said: "It was a brilliant performance from start to finish against Holland. We executed our gameplan down to a tee.

"They're a good side, they drew with England in their previous game and the English have seasoned Premier League players.

"So for us to do that was great.It wasn't just a two-goal snatch, we comfortably won and restricted them to one shot at goal.

"That can be massive for our confidence. You can see we're together, we're a team. That's maybe different from previous years.

"After every goal, we celebrate together. It's not about individuals. The manager is a big part of that. We've bonded well as a group.

"For myself, in the last few years some of the U21 games haven't been pretty. But that makes results like the Holland one sweeter."

At club level, Souttar has the perfect mentor in Scotland centre-half Christophe Berra.

He said: "I've learned a lot off him already. He's been there, he's 12 years older so I'm picking up as much as I can off him.

"It's not easy to play in the Scottish Premiership at my age but he's helping massively."

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SOUTTAR . delighted with win | Scott MCDERMOTT

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:495
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