Was it sat­is­fy­ing? I think the sat­is­fy­ing bit comes when you go in the dress­ing room and they are all leap­ing about, jump­ing and singing


which haven’t been full. If you get the right stuff then you’re fine.

“It was a strange, strange feel­ing at the end of the game. When they started off play­ing I thought ‘that’s what we’re try­ing to achieve, that’s what we used the Canada game the other night for, to find out who could run, who was fit and who could play with each other’.

“Was it sat­is­fy­ing? I think the sat­is­fy­ing bit comes when you go in the dress­ing room and they are all leap­ing about, jump­ing and singing. It is a pity we don’t see each other for a long time now.”

De­spite Scot­land bat­ter­ing op­po­nents who were sec­ond in Group F and nine places above them in the FIFA world rank­ings, their fans were still far from sat­is­fied.

A sec­tion of the sup­port jeered the in­tro­duc­tion of Chris Martin for the ex­cel­lent James Mor­ri­son to­wards the end of the match even though Stra­chan was re­plac­ing a mid­fielder with a striker as he pushed for a win­ner.

Martin, the Derby County for­ward who is on loan at Ful­ham in the Sky Bet Cham­pi­onship this sea­son, had the last laugh by scor­ing an ex­cel­lent goal with just two min­utes re­main­ing and his man­ager is un­con­cerned by the re­ac­tion the player re­ceived.

“I have my own thoughts about that, but I will keep them to my­self,” he said. “As I said on the night, he has joined a great club of top play­ers who have had a wee bit of stick from the fans. But he is a hero in our eyes, that’s for sure.”

Scot­land look to have found a new star in Stu­art Arm­strong. Stra­chan de­scribed his dis­play as “the best de­but I have ever seen” in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the tri­umph. He ex­panded on his com­ments.

“I al­ways knew his run­ning power was good, but I didn’t know how strong he had be­come with his run­ning power,” he said. “It is okay to run, but to be strong and run at the same time is dif­fi­cult and that’s what he’s got.

“That changed when he moved po­si­tion about September time re­ally. It has changed his ca­reer. It has def­i­nitely helped Celtic and it has helped us. So play­ers make a big dif­fer­ence. I thought Scott Brown was back to his best as well. We could be here all day talk­ing about good play­ers.”

Stra­chan switched Kieran Tier­ney to right back so that he could ac­com­mo­date both the Celtic de­fender and Andy Robert­son of Hull City in the same side and was re­warded with lively per­for­mances from both men.

The in­di­vid­ual show­ings of two men whose com­bined age is just 42 gives him op­ti­mism for the fu­ture. He said: “When I told Kieran what I was go­ing to do he said: ‘No prob­lem’. Lis­ten, he was just su­perb.

“A lot of play­ers have moved from right back to left back over the years, but I didn’t think it should be any dif­fer­ent go­ing the other way. When you have got two play­ers like that you have to try and play them both. You have to try and get your best play­ers on the pitch.”

Pic­tures: SNS

TAKE A SEAT . . . ANY SEAT: Ham­p­den was less than half full for Sun­day night’s vic­tory over Slove­nia, but Scot­land man­ager Gor­don Stra­chan (be­low) reck­ons a thrilling fi­nale may change that.

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