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'Basketball game' vexes Strachan

16 Nov 2013 06:46:51

'Basketball game' vexes Strachan

Gordon Strachan admits Scotland's goalless draw against the United States in their Vauxhall International Challenge match at Hampden Park was 'like a basketball game'.

The Scots continued their improvement under the former Celtic and Middlesbrough boss as they look towards next year's 2016 European Championship qualifiers, but it was far from an exciting 90 minutes.

Craig Conway missed a good chance in the first half and USA keeper Tim Howard made a great save from a Robert Snodgrass free-kick after the break but the Scotland boss admitted both sides mostly cancelled each other out.

"It was two teams who knew how to stop people playing," Strachan said.

"It was like man-for-man, it was like a basketball game.

"Everyone played in the same positions, one-against-one and we had some good wins in the head-to-heads at times.

"I would loved to have won but I thought the draw was a fair result.

"They are difficult to play against, that's for sure. They are a big physical side.

"It reaffirmed one or two things, positives and negatives, so that was handy.

"It is always good to clear your mind.

"So it was a worthwhile exercise although it wasn't a great game, that was for sure."

Strachan was relaxed about Conway's miss when he failed to hit the target after a good Scotland move had opened up the visiting defence.

He said: "Craig said it took a wee bobble just before it got there - Alan Hutton must have got a big bobble with his shot.

"I thought the referee was going to book him for time-wasting.

"But I think if we are going to beat teams that size we have to be really good 30 or 40 yards out, and with the edge-of-the-box type stuff, and if we get that we will beat teams.

"That will come, I am sure it will."

USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann admitted that it was a vastly different Scotland side to the one which lost 5-1 in their friendly match in Jacksonville in the summer of 2012 when Craig Levein was in charge - and he put that down to the influence of Strachan.

The former Germany striker and manager said: "It was clear to see that Scotland are on the way up.

"Tonight confirmed that, they showed that they could beat you at any moment.

"There was no comparison between this game and the last game but we knew that would be the case.

"They are a different side, they are compact, focused and serious.

"They have got the message from Gordon, they are building towards the 2016 qualifiers and you could sense that."


PA

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