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Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Coach Billy Stark proud of Scotland U21s development

Billy Stark
Billy Stark's under-21s have been receiving full Scotland call-ups

Billy Stark has highlighted the important role of Scotland's youth in the development of the national side.

Stark's Under-21s recently lost out on a place at the 2011 European Championships when they lost a two-legged play-off against Iceland.

Northern Ireland Under-21s take on their Scottish counterparts on Wednesday and Stark is keen to see more of his squad break through.

"If they can go to the full squad then it's a good feeling," he said.

"That's the purpose of the under-21s."

David Goodwillie, Danny Wilson and Barry Bannan were all promoted from the under-21s to the national side when Scotland boss Craig Levein announced his initial squad for the friendly against the Faroe Islands at Pittodrie.

It's an indication that Craig feels there are young boys who are coming through who can play or supplement his squad and that's what we're aiming for

Scotland under-21 coach Billy Stark

Steven Saunders was called in as the number of withdrawals through injury increased, and Levein handed debut starts to Bannan and Wilson for the match at Pittodrie, which the Scots comfortably won 3-0.

"Circumstances, certainly in Steven's case, have prevailed to give him an opportunity but Bannan, Goodwillie and Wilson were picked in the original squad, which is great.

"That is an indication that Craig feels there are young boys who are coming through who can play or supplement his squad and that's what we're aiming for.

"In order to produce players who can do well at international level, having a reasonably successful time at under-21 level helps them as they have been used to winning the majority of games.

"We're not trying to set ourselves up as the saviours of Scottish football, but if we can get a consistency and the players can see there's a chance of progress, we can get to major finals and show we're not a bad nation."

Stark insists he has unfinished business with the Scotland Under-21 side before he considers a return to club management.

The former St Johnstone manager had been linked with the vacant post at Hibernian before Colin Calderwood was appointed and with his former club Aberdeen when it looked like Mark McGhee was set to leave Pittodrie.

"It's always nice because we all have a certain ego but it's not something I think about to be honest with you.

"I realise there is speculation and sometimes you have to respond to that.

"I feel ambitious as all football people do but right now my ambition lies in trying to get the under-21s that step further in the next campaign.

"We have a new squad coming together and I'm energised already.

"I hope this group of players can have the belief that the last squad had.

"So that's the starting point just now, working to get that belief in to them."

see also
Mackie wants more Scotland goals
17 Nov 10 |  Scotland
Scotland 3-0 Faroe Islands
16 Nov 10 |  Scotland
Clarke and Stark in Hibs running
16 Oct 10 |  Hibernian
Stark wants final push from U21s
04 Sep 10 |  Football

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