In start­ing Grif­fiths over Chris Martin, Jor­dan Rhodes or Steven Fletcher, he had given the public what they had been ask­ing for, even if a first in­ter­na­tional goal again eluded the Celtic striker

The Herald - Herald Sport - - SCOTLAND 1 SLOVENIA 0 -

ruled out for some overzeal­ous jostling with his marker – be­fore Stra­chan de­cided to take mat­ters into his own hands, mak­ing the long walk down the stairs and along to the edge of the perime­ter area to pass on in­struc­tions to his play­ers.

This he did at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals through­out the re­main­der of the match, one touch­line con­ver­sa­tion with Rus­sell Martin go­ing on for quite some time and in­volv­ing Stra­chan mak­ing hand ges­tures as if he were in­volved in a pro­longed game of cha­rades.

Grif­fiths’ in­jury forced him into his first se­lec­tion switch – Stra­chan es­chew­ing the more ob­vi­ous cen­tre for­ward choices to ask Steven Nai­smith to lead the line for his coun­try for the first time in quite some time. More tac­ti­cal tin­ker­ing fol­lowed. Ikechi Anya, who had played at right-back in last week’s friendly against Canada, came on to play in an ad­vanced left-mid­field role in place of the tir­ing Robert Sn­od­grass, be­fore Chris Martin was sum­moned for the last hur­rah.

The boos that brought were, pre­sum­ably, for the de­ci­sion to re­move James Mor­ri­son rather than for Martin, and the striker would go on to make a telling con­tri­bu­tion, slid­ing a shot past Oblak to de­liver the pre­cious vic­tory. Stra­chan punched the air then stood ap­plaud­ing, his face barely reg­is­ter­ing a a smile. In­side, though, he will have known how im­por­tant that goal had been, both for Scot­land and for him­self.

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