Stimac insists he didn’t take Scotland too lightly

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CROATIA manager Igor Stimac has been forced to defend himself against accusations he took Scotland too lightly on Friday evening.

The Balkan nation are still in shock after the Scots’ famous 1-0 win in Zagreb.

Scotland players revealed at full-time that they were fired up from the boasts and taunts of their opponents all week, and left their opponents with egg on their faces after the win severely damaged Croatia’s hopes of qualifying automatically for Brazil next year.

Stimac himself is now under serious pressure after fans turned against him. And he’s rejected allegations he thought Scotland would be a walkover. Stimac said: “I warned everyone the Scots would be dangerous.

“They announced they were missing a whole team of players and gave the impression they were in Zagreb for their holidays. But I told everyone on the very first day of training that the Scots were dangerous, were a serious opponent and were a nation who never surrenders.

“And although they had lost and drawn a few games in this Group, they were never outclassed.

“Yes, we had a night out in Bosnia and mingled with the fans there, but we should be proud of that.

“We were missing Modric, Corluka and Lovren and that didn’t help.

“I am the first to take responsibility for everything. I still think we did enough to win the game, but it was not to be.

“They scored a goal that happens about once in 100 years.

“I’m not one of those people who will hide when I have to take responsibility, I will not hide from the camera after a defeat.

“We need to keep working and if we have to qualify through a play-off, then so be it.”

Meanwhile, suspended Real Madrid star Luka Modric couldn’t believe what he saw in the Maksimir. He said: “Nobody thought the Scots would beat us, but they did.

“We are sad and disappointed. We have three games to save ourselves.”