DUNFERMLINE defender Ryan Williamson insists being given the run-around by England’s Premier League whizz-kids has given him the determination to shoot for the stars.
The 21-year-old made his international debut with Scotland under-21s last month in their daunting clash with the Auld Enemy.
It was a proud moment for the full-back but the Scots ultimately went down 3-1 in the Euro qualifier in front of over 20,000 fans at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.
Just one glance at their opponents, though, is proof the defeat was no shame on Scot Gemmill’s outfit.
England’s goals were scored by Liverpool youngster Dominic Solanke, who has seven top-flight appearances under his belt this season, Spurs midfielder Josh Onomah, currently a regular at Aston Villa on loan from Spurs, and Tammy Abraham.
Abraham, impressing on loan at Swansea City from Chelsea, made his debut for the A squad against Germany earlier this month and picked up a second cap as a substitute against Brazil.
At the back, the English fielded Liverpool kid Joe Gomez, who also played against both Germany and Brazil, whilst midfielder Lewis Cook is a regular for Bournemouth at 20 and winger Demarai Gray has made over 50 top-team appearances for Leicester City.
It was an up-close display for the Scots youngsters of just what it takes to make it at the highest level and Williamson is eager to take the lesson on board.
The right-back, who won his third cap in this month’s 2-0 defeat to Ukraine, said: “The first time I was away with the under-21s I knew it was going to be a tough game against England. They’ve obviously got some top-class players, boys playing in the Premier League.
“The game was just a completely different level.
“It showed how physically strong these guys are, and they were quick and so intelligent on and off the ball.
“They were just a step above, really.
“It was a good insight into what it takes to play at that level and a good learning curve for myself.
“It’s an indication of what I’ve got to keep striving towards and to aim for.
“I came on on the right wing and was up against Kyle Walker-Peters, who is playing in the Premier League with Spurs.
“The boy Joe Gomez was playing, as was Abraham, who played twice for the full England team recently, and Demarai Gray was the stand-out player, but thankfully on the other wing.
“I’ve just got to keep working hard and do my best, work on my weaknesses and strengths, and try to get to that level.”
Williamson will face a different challenge on Tuesday when Dunfermline host Morton in their rearranged league fixture.
The Pars defeated Queen’s Park 4-1 at the weekend to progress to the fourth round of the Scottish Cup but saw Dundee United stretch five points ahead of them at the top of the Championship on Sunday.
With Dumbarton the visitors on Saturday, Williamson added: “The weekend wasn’t great. In the first-half, we were poor, but we were too strong in the end for Queen’s Park and we’re happy to be in the next round of the cup.
“We’ve now got two massive games in the league, two games you would say we need to go and win.
“They’re both at home and we’ll have the backing of the home crowd, so they are two winnable games.
“It’s so close at the top of the table, so it’s important for us to get two wins to get ourselves up at the top and try to stay there.”