It would have been easy for Aidan Nesbitt's head to drop when he spoke to UEFA.com in the aftermath of Scotland's 5-0 defeat by the Netherlands. That, though, was not his style.
Scot Gemmill's team have enjoyed a wonderful UEFA European Under-17 Championship but the Jong Oranje proved a hurdle too far. The Dutch were superior for much of Sunday's last-four meeting in Ta' Qali, twice hitting the woodwork in addition to the five goals they did score. Nesbitt, however, was quick to front up.
"To go out 5-0 in the semi-finals after getting so far and doing so well, it's tough to take," said the Celtic FC youngster. "The two goals just before half-time were a penalty and a scruffy one. In the second half we went out to try and attack them but they picked us off – they were very clinical. When we went and tried to attack, the game opened up for them. They've got some very good players and I thought a number of their individuals were excellent."
Nesbitt spoke eloquently and defiantly despite the rawness of such an emphatic elimination. Indeed he was even able to draw on the positives and look to the future less than an hour after full time. "In qualification for this tournament we won five of our six games," he said. "We've beaten teams like Germany, Belgium, Switzerland so I think that for all of Scottish football – especially Scottish youth football – it's been excellent to get to the last four of the EUROs.
"I've learnt massively at this tournament, and I'm sure everyone in the team has. I hope that can kick me on to better things. [The manager] told us that we'd done brilliantly to get this far. The Dutch were a good team but we've got to keep our heads up and be happy with what we've achieved."
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