Spain still reign but young Scots run them close

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SEVEN young Motherwell footballers suffered spot-kick agony as Scotland took on the might of Spain in a special challenge match at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.

The game was organised by North Lanarkshire Leisure as part of the legacy developed from being the European City of Sport in 2011.

Hugo Alonso, general secretary of the European Capitals of Sport Association, brought the team of talented kids from Spain for a week-long training camp and cultural exchange visit.

He said: “The match was a unique opportunity for the kids to play in an international tournament at a great facility.

“The exchange experience was really good for the kids in terms of culture, education and sport. They were really proud of it and want to repeat next year.”

Spanish player Nicolás Martínez added: “Scotland will be in my heart for ever and ever. What I experienced here was incredible: football, English and tourism. What more would I ask for?”

The young Spaniards showed the technical skill that has seen their country become World and European champions at full international level.

However, the Scottish team, completely made up of North Lanarkshire kids including Jacob Hose, Murray Miller, Stuart Geddes, Cameron Dickson, Kirk McKnight, Nathan Stark and Jack McLelland from Motherwell, were not overawed with a talented and battling performance.

Scotland took the lead before Spain hit back to lead 3-1 but Scotland piled on the pressure and two late goals forced the game into penalties, with the visitors securing a 4-2 victory.