Scotland: Swansea's Oliver McBurnie and Aberdeen's McKenna 'ready for top team'

Oliver McBurnie celebrates scoring for Barnsley

Oliver McBurnie and Scott McKenna are worthy of their promotion to the senior Scotland squad,[1] according to under-21 manager Scot Gemmill.

The pair were among six players to be called into the senior set-up for the first time on Monday.

“They are definitely prepared,” said Gemmill as he named his own squad.

“Both of them have consistently shown that they can be trusted to play, so it is fantastic for everyone that they have been given the opportunity.”

  • Scotland can rely on McKenna – McInnes[2]
  • Scotland U21 call for Chelsea’s St Clair[3]

Striker McBurnie, who has scored five goals in seven appearances on loan to Barnsley from Swansea City, and Aberdeen centre-half McKenna will be missing as Gemmill’s side face Andorra in a European Championship qualifier on 23 March.

Instead, the 21-year-olds will be part of Alex McLeish’s first squad since returning as senior head coach for friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary.

“If you trace back, they have not played only for the under-21s but the under-19s as well, but the real confidence for the manager to select them comes from their club performances,” said Gemmill.

“Scott McKenna came in against Holland in our first game and I think I’m right in saying his club manager took note of his level of performance and brought him into his team.

Aberdeen's Scott McKenna and Celtic's Moussa Dembele<!–

“Oli was supposed to go on loan to Barnsley away back, it didn’t happen, but it is great that he got the chance to go and he has taken the opportunity he has been given.

“I believe he has just won player of the month, so it shows the level of performance these players have been putting in.

“It is a real motivation for all the players to continue their progression.”

Gemmill has also lost assistant manager Peter Grant to the senior set-up and the former Norwich City manager has been replaced with former Scotland assistant Peter Houston.

The former Scotland midfielder, who was “flattered” to be linked with the senior job before McLeish’s appointment, believes Grant will be a good conduit between the youth and senior teams.

“Peter has been with the 21s all year and was at the Toulon Tournament last year, so it has really helped his knowledge of the younger players,” Gemmill added.

“It is great for that link and the knowledge within the senior staff of what is available to them.”


  1. ^ senior Scotland squad, (
  2. ^ Scotland can rely on McKenna – McInnes (
  3. ^ Scotland U21 call for Chelsea’s St Clair (

BBC Sport – Scottish

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