Maloney: Scotland must play for pride in Serbia

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SHAUN Maloney says Scotland must come to terms with their latest disappointment quickly if they are to reclaim any credibility from the rest of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Rooted to the bottom of Group A at the halfway mark with just two points from their first five games, Scotland now face a daunting assignment against Serbia in Novi Sad on Tuesday night. Maloney insists he and his team-mates have no time to feel sorry for themselves in the wake of last night’s 2-1 defeat against Wales at Hampden as they look to avoid further disappointment. “We have to sit down over the next day or two and work out where we go from here,” said Maloney. “The next game in Serbia is about salvaging pride, something along those lines.

“Having another game so quickly might be a good thing. We just need a positive result, it would help. We would need a run of results to lift us in the group. But right now one good result would be great, it would help us a lot. A result and a good performance is what we need now.”

Having conceded the penalty in Cardiff last October which sparked Wales comeback from 1-0 down to win 2-1 on that occasion, Maloney saw Robert Snodgrass do the same thing last night as Scotland experienced the same scenario at Hampden.

“It felt similar to the last Wales result, it was really disappointing,” added Maloney. “Both Wales games have been really frustrating. We’re going to rue these results when it comes to the final table. The last 20 minutes were difficult with the man down. That’s not a criticism of Snoddy, it’s just difficult to press the ball when you are a man down.

“At half-time the manager was reasonably pleased with the last 20 minutes and we had got the goal right at the end of the first half. After the game he was as disappointed as we were. We wanted to be at it from the start of the game but it took 15 minutes to work them out. It wasn’t a lack of effort, it was just getting to grips with their formation. In parts it was reasonably good, the last 15 or 20 minutes of the first half and then some of the second. When we went down to 10 men it was very difficult and was one-way traffic after that.

“I didn’t see the penalty incident. The ref looked like he was giving a free kick but the linesman maybe gave the penalty. They made the decision so you just have to get on with it. We weren’t in control but we were doing better after Wales dominated the first 20 minutes. We had got into the game, we’d been better than we were and felt reasonably comfortable. I don’t think we were nervous to start, we took time to get to grips with their formation and the way they were playing.”