Scotland men got their Men’s EuroHockey Championship II campaign off to a winning start with a solid 3-0 win over Switzerland in Dublin.
It was a warm but rainy afternoon that saw Scotland field five debutants, alongside experienced internationalists, for their first Scotland cap to kick start this European campaign.
Scotland took charge of the contest from the push back, and enjoyed good spells of possession, and control, in the opening quarter. The Scots had two first quarter penalty corner opportunities, but the Swiss defence matched them well, and kept them at bay.
Keir Robb, added to the squad in place of James Drummond, looked bright, and Duncan Riddell was composed in his distribution from the back. In the second quarter it was Robb who made his mark.
A scramble in the circle was finished off clinically by Robb, for a debut goal, and put Scotland 1-0 ahead in Dublin.
Alan Forsyth nearly doubled Scotland’s lead as half time approached. Forsyth won the ball on the halfway line, offloaded it to the captain, Lee Morton, who tore forward, and found Forsyth for the effort at goal, but the keeper slid out to block and deny the goal.
Forsyth was key soon after, when Scotland went 2-0 ahead right before half time, through Jamie Golden. A great counter found Forsyth on the left of the circle, who teed up Golden on the right, to slide in and convert the goal. A well-earned 2-0 at half time.
Early in the second half Robert Field nearly made it 3-0 through a drag flick from a corner, but it fizzed just wide of the bottom right corner.
The third goal would arrive soon as Scotland’s relentless pressure paid off. Struan Walker made it 3-0 from a low penalty corner finish into the bottom right corner.
The final quarter saw Scotland remain dominant, and they continued to show excellent work rate to win the ball back, and maintain possession, whenever the Swiss got a stick to the ball.
Right at the death it was very nearly 4-0 when Andy McConnell went on a powerful run into the circle, but his final shot looked to strike the post and bounce clear.
There would be no further goals, and Scotland clocked up three solid point heading into tomorrow’s clash with Italy at 17:30.
Head Coach Jonny Caren said, “As a group we’ve set our standards high and we demand a lot from ourselves, so we’re slightly disappointed that we didn’t hit our full potential today, that said, we picked up three points; scored three goals; kept a clean sheet; and we created a lot of opportunities. We also restricted Switzerland to very few chances.
“It was also a special day as we got to celebrate Derek’s life at the start of the game, with a minute’s applause, and then we introduced five new athlete’s to the senior men’s family, with Keir Robb scoring on his debut.
“It’s a quick turnaround for Italy tomorrow, and I know with a bit more care and attention to detail we’ll be in a strong position tomorrow.”
Scotland 3-0 Switzerland (K. Robb; J. Golden; S. Walker)