Celtic defender Stephen Welsh captains Scotland U21s to clean sheet in Belgium

By David Walton

June 5, 2022

Celtic centre-back Stephen Welsh has this afternoon captained Scotland U21s to a fantastic clean sheet in Belgium.

The young Scots managed to bag a 0-0 draw in Sint-Truiden against the table-toppers in their under-21 Euro qualifying match.

Welsh has been captain of Scott Gemmill’s squad since October and has led the side during their entire campaign outside of the opening game against Turkey.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

And today was the Celtic defender’s most impressive performance yet. Up against Charleroi’s Anthony Descotte, Welsh bossed the aerial proceedings between the pair and cleared the danger whenever the ball came into the penalty area.

Promisingly for Ange Postecoglou and the Celtic support, Welsh was also confident bringing the ball out from the back. He was happy to push high and try and pick a pass instead of simply going long and relieving the pressure.

Unfortunately, the result doesn’t do anything for Scotland’s qualification chances as a whole. The Scots still sit in 4th place with Belgium and Denmark racing away in the top 2 spots.

Stephen Welsh delivers stunning performance as Scotland under-21s impress

The result ends a run of poor form for Gemmill’s side. And despite the fact qualification for next year’s competition is over, it still shows the levels the likes of Welsh can reach on his day.

The Hoops centre-back also managed to put the ball in the back of the net this afternoon as he knocked home from close range. However, the goal was unfairly disallowed due to a previous shove by a Scotland teammate.

It’s hopefully a big morale-booster for Welsh given the quality he was up against this afternoon. It’s his first major result as captain of the side, and they needed his leadership and commanding presence this afternoon.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Next up is a tasty clash with Matt O’Riley’s Denmark on Friday night. That will see Welsh go head-to-head with his Celtic teammate, who’s fresh off his first assist for his country yesterday.

But for now, Welsh should be allowed the time to celebrate and enjoy today’s result. Given Belgium will be one of the favourites at the Euros next year, keeping a clean sheet away from home against them speaks for itself.

Hopefully, both he and O’Riley can produce impressive individual displays on Friday night.

In other news, Exit route reported for Celtic midfielder Ismaila Soro