CHRIS Burke rued Scotland’s inability to take advantage of being in the ascendancy at the start of the second half last night as Wales again recovered from losing the first goal to take all three points at Hampden.
Gordon Strachan’s side had looked to have endured a difficult start when they grabbed the opening goal thanks to a Grant Hanley header in first half injury-time. A more spirited performance from the hosts after the interval gave the home fans hope that Scotland could seal victory but the concession of a penalty, after Robert Snodgrass’ foul on Chris Gunter, saw the game swing back in Wales’ favour.
“We had weathered the storm,” lamented Burke. “We were all a bit nervous, but we got the goal. We were winning 1-0 at half-time, that’s a fact. It doesn’t matter about possession. Even though they had a lot of possession in the first half, we had a lot of chances ourselves to score. Snoddy hit the post and I had a shot that was blocked when I should probably have done better and that would have made it 2-0.
“We started the second half well as well. We were in the ascendancy and it looked as if we were going to get another goal, and they get penalty, and it is a big turning point. Obviously the sending off has changed a lot. I feel for Snodgrass, because I thought he was magnificent tonight, getting on the ball and he was unlucky when he hit the post
“I did not see it [the penalty incident]. I did not even know it was a free kick. The ball went out at my side, and I was re-grouping to take the throw in for us. Obviously there was a bit of controversy with the referee and the linesman. I will have to see it again.
“Snoddy has apologised,” he added. “But the manager said there is no need for him to do that, because he was magnificent.”
Burke was relieved to hear that Steven Fletcher’s ankle injury was not as bad as first feared. The Sunderland striker was taken off after only three minutes after landing awkwardly. “It was unfortunate,” Burke said. “I don’t think it is broken; our initial thoughts were that he had broken it, but I think maybe it is just ligament damage.”
The Birmingham winger looked to the future, and said the players were now aiming to simply collect some more points, having lost three consecutive qualifying games.
“The manager has not said anything, he just said go back to the hotel,” revealed Burke. “It is just now a case of trying to get points on the board and trying to play well, and play better than tonight. Hopefully we can do that. We have to bounce back. We have a game on Tuesday. There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves. I hope the fans stay patient. Things don’t happen overnight.”