Scotland Under-21 manager Billy Stark hailed the impact of Sporting Lisbon youngster Ryan Gauld after he scored twice against Luxembourg.

The £3m summer signing from Dundee United registered either side of Rangers midfielder Lewis Macleod's second goal as the youngsters rounded off their doomed qualifying bid for the UEFA Under-21 Championships with a 3-0 win.

Stark said after the game at the Stade Municipal de Differdange: "When you have a player of Gauld's quality it can make the difference. We've seen that with even the top teams.

"Look at Portugal on Sunday without Ronaldo. It hurts you when they're not there. Equally when they are there they can provide that moment that makes the game easier for you."

Gauld fired home the opener after 31 minutes when the 18-year-old - last week named in Sporting's Champions League squad - curled home after decent work by Sheffield Wednesday striker Stevie May to tee him up.

Macleod added the second 10 minutes before half-time as he finished off a sweeping move that also involved Gauld and Aberdeen defender Ryan Jack.

Gauld's second came on 62 minutes as he swept home after more good play by Fraser, while he just missed out on a hat trick with 10 minutes left after Luxembourg goalkeeper Joe Frising did well to save his low shot.

But even the comfortable final win was not enough to put Scotland into the play-offs for the Czech Republic after they failed to beat Slovakia on Friday.

They do climb up to third spot in Group 3 but it will be the Netherlands and last week's opponents who will prepare for the play-offs.

Stark added: "The second goal was a terrific build-up and finish for Lewis, who was excellent too.

"Double-headers are difficult. The Slovakian game took a lot out of us so there's always that temptation to freshen things up but we decided to stick with the ones we played the other night.

"We should have done better with finishes but that was down to tired legs. We made them look ordinary by getting into a comfortable position.

"I'm heartened by the display and the way they went about things for the next campaign."