SCOTLAND will play their third, and final, Group A match in the Under-19 Euros when they take on Netherlands at St Mirren Park tomorrow evening. The opening two games have brought defeats for Pauline Hamill's side.

Having watched the team struggle in the preparation tournament last October expectations for the finals weren't high, but the players surpassed themselves in losing only 2-1 to France in Paisley on Tuesday. It was a performance of great tenacity and grit, and had a fine chance been taken when it was 1-1 in the final minute of regulation time the scoreline might even have been reversed.

With less than 72 hours turnaround before the second game against Norway at Firhill on Friday it was a different story. The Norwegians, who themselves had been trounced 5-0 by Netherlands on Tuesday, completely dominated the opening 45 minutes and led by what proved to be the final score of 4-0 at the interval.

Although some people don't like it being stated, there has to be some realism about the squad of players Hamill has at her disposal. In different circumstances the head coach would probably have wanted to make more than one change after the enormous effort the side put in against France, but she felt able to only make one – Celtic's Emma Craig, who came on as a substitute in Paisley to score the Scotland goal, replacing Laura McCartney in the starting line-up.

By contrast Nils Lexerod, her Norwegian counterpart, brought in four fresh outfield players for the Firhill game. What was already a superior side had another advantage because of the depth of his squad.

Scotland is hosting the tournament at at time when most of the other finalists have domestic clubs who can offer the best young players professional contracts. Hamill's are all amateur and 17-year-old goalkeeper Sophie Allison, who has shown remarkable composure in the two games, plays in the third tier of Scottish football with Glasgow City's development side.

It is, quite simply, not an even playing field, which makes the performance against France all the more commendable. The least anybody asks of a Scotland side is that they leave nothing out on the pitch and that was certainly the case in Paisley with central defender Jenna Clark, captain Amy Muir and Jamie-Lee Napier showing they can be future senior internationalists.