Gordon Strachan today vowed to “get it right” after watching his first match as Scotland manager end in defeat.
Strachan admitted he’d been “hugely disappointed” to see Wales come from behind to beat the Scots for a second time in this World Cup qualifying campaign, a result which leaves his side firmly rooted to the foot of Group A with only two points from their opening five matches.
Clinching a place in next year’s finals in Rio was already beyond Strachan given the abysmal start made under his predecessor Craig Levein, but now the new boss is determined to make the most of the remaining matches to get the nation moving in the right direction.
Admitting this was “not a good period” for Scotland, the Edinburgh-born coach said: “We have to try to win games. It’s not easy but we will experiment and find out what is right for us, who are the right players for us and take it from there.”
An early injury to former Hibs striker Steven Fletcher, stretchered off with an ankle injury, and a red card for Robert Snodgrass mean Strachan will have to change his side for Tuesday night’s clash with Serbia in Belgrade.
And, Strachan made it clear, players will be given their chance to stake their claim for a place in his plans. He said: “There were a few who staked a claim which is good, there are a few who might say they could have done better and they will get their opportunity again.”
Strachan admitted the penalty given away by Snodgrass as he picked up a second yellow card was the turning point in the game as the Scots led, against the run of play, through Grant Hanley’s first goal for his club, Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey – who himself was sent off in the dying seconds – stepping up to convert from the spot before Hal Robson-Kanu headed home what proved to be the winner three minutes later.
He said: “We were nervous to start with and I think Steven Fletcher’s injury kind of spooked us a bit. We did not pass the ball well enough in the first half and if you are not passing well ltheother team get it and they picked up our loose passing.
“But as the game progressed we moved the ball better and we started the second half well. When you are 1-0 up, although that flattered us, you have to score the second. We had chances but we did not take them.
“The penalty caused us a problem, down to ten men and they score again right away. It was an uphill struggle after that.”
Welsh boss Chris Coleman was, naturally, delighted to have seen his side win, adamant they didn’t deserve to be behind. He said: “For the first 30 minutes we totally dominated the game but we then almost became too comfortable, started having too many touches and invited Scotland back into it.
“The crowd here don’t need too much to get them excited, that’s the last thing you want to do. We do in 1-0 down which, I felt, wasn’t a true reflection on the first 45 minutes. We rode our luck at the start of the second half when they hit the post but after that it was all us and we thoroughly deserved the win.”