GORDON STRACHAN saw his side drop from third to fourth in the group last night and was absolutely delighted!
The Scotland manager had achieved his objective from the long weekend of World Cup qualifying with six points from six and the bus of England doing the Scots a favour by beating Slovakia at Wembley.
Slovenia’s 4-0 win over Lithuania may have helped them leapfrog Scotland into third place but for Strachan, his players and the Tartan Army that’s not really important. Scotland are halfway to their four wins from four which should take them into the play-offs.
“I’m alright with that,” Strachan stated after the dust had settled on the rather workmanlike 2-0 win over Malta at Hampden.
“When you get to the stage when you your fate is in your own hands in a tournament that’s all you can ask.
“You can look back and say we could have done better there, there and there but we have tried to make up for bad performances or low-key performances by doing the best we can.”
On Friday Scotland looked magnificent, last night less so but a win is a win. looking back at the weekend, Strachan was clearly impressed by the offensive nature of the Scotland performances.
“Twenty five attempts at goal tonight says it all, 48 for the last two games. That’s good enough to win games of football, if you make that amount of chances.
“You don’t make that amount of chances all the time at international level.
“The work they put in, the running off the ball, the bravery. We could have scored more goals tonight but were maybe a wee bit tired after Friday.
“That was more than enough tonight. It got to the point where the boys just wanted to kill the game off and make sure we kept the ball.
“When we kept the ball better in the last 10 minutes, we made another couple of chances. So it’s been a good eight days for the players.
“We have to keep an eye on the players for the next four or five weeks, make sure they are all on top form. By the time it comes round again, there might be other guys ready to go or some guys injured. That’s what we will be doing for the next month.”
Captain Scott Brown showed a pleasing level of maturity, avoiding a booking by refusing to retaliate, as he would unquestionably have done in the past, when an opponent spat on him. Brown kept his cool but took no prisoners in the press conference afterwards.
“He did spit on me, he is a horrible b*****d,” said Brown about Malta’s Steve Borg.
“He put his hand up to apologise but I managed to keep my head. The main thing was getting the three points. It was about the team, not about one person or bookings or anything like that.”