Billy's babes up for a Paisley pattern

Billy Stark admits the transient nature of international under-21 football can be a cause of frustration.

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But the Scotland Under-21 coach is set to assemble a mostly new squad for the 2015 European Under-21 Championship qualification campaign, which starts next month.

The young Scots kick off on March 25 with a home match against Luxembourg. Then they face Holland, Slovakia and Georgia in Group 3, with the group winners and four best-placed runners-up from the 10 qualifying groups progressing to the play-offs.

Scotland were undefeated at home in the 2013 qualifying campaign, finishing second in their group and just missing out on a play-off place for this summer's finals.

Speaking at St Mirren Park, which will again host the home games, Stark said: "You know it will be a very difficult task because you need to win five games out of eight, six to be guaranteed and you go into every game knowing there is no margin for error.

"Previous squads have not been too frightened about it, they have not been far away.

"I would love to think this squad could take that final step and get us to finals, but it is going to be difficult.

"You feel by getting so close with the last squad that, if you kept working with them, you could maybe just find that wee bit extra, but then they become too old and you have to start again.

"There is a big element of the new, but we have some continuity from the last squad with the likes of Stuart Armstrong, Lewis Toshney, Tony Watt and Kenny McLean, and that is an important aspect.

"I think there is a good nucleus and good strength-in-depth in a squad which is capable of winning games."

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