Alex McLeish warns of more Scotland ‘pain’ before progress

Alex McLeish's Scotland face Hungary on Tuesday. Picture: SNS
Alex McLeish's Scotland face Hungary on Tuesday. Picture: SNS
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Alex McLeish has warned the Tartan Army to expect more pain before Scotland start to show signs of progress.

The new manager is keen to banish the negativity that looms large over the national side but warned that it will not happen overnight.

After the disappointment of the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica at Hampden on Friday, the man charged with taking the country to a major championships for the first time since the 1998 World Cup wants an upturn in performance against Hungary in Budapest on Tuesday but warns that further experimentation means that standards are harder to predict.

“I am sorry there might have to be a wee bit of pain before we can go forward. I’ve not got all the experienced players. Gordon [Strachan] was very strong in keeping those guys together right to the end of the campaign and rightly so, I can understand that trust. We’ve got a lot of players out and they will hopefully be ready for us when the competition starts.

“We still have them very much in mind but we want to test and see. We’d heard the Scottish league is much higher and we have seen a lot of good performances, but can they step up?”

Matt Ritchie is carrying a slight strain while Charlie Mulgrew has a match for Blackburn Rovers on Thursday and may be left on the sidelines against Hungary.