Brown: Zagreb win huge for Scotland

08 June 2013 04:17

Former Scotland boss Craig Brown believes the team's unlikely 1-0 2014 World Cup qualifying win over Croatia in Zagreb last night will go further than simply boosting qualification hopes for Euro 2016.

Against massive odds, Robert Snodgrass' first-half goal gave Gordon Strachan's makeshift side their first Group A victory after seven attempts. Although there is no chance of the Scots making next summer's finals in Brazil, the triumph ensured they will be in pot four for the draw for the next European Championship.

Being in pot four should - in theory - help Scotland's chances of reaching the finals of a major tournament for the first time since Brown led Scotland to the 1998 World Cup in France. And he said: "Probably the most pleasing thing emerging from last night is that we are not in the bottom pot."

He added: "That would have made it more difficult to qualify for the next tournament."

The former Motherwell and Aberdeen manager is aware of the importance of seeding position but insists the rare away competitive win - the first since beating Liechtenstein in October 2011 - will give more to football in Scotland.

He added: "It should be easier with 24 teams qualifying. There are 53 countries so just about half qualify, and surely you must think that Scotland will be in the top half of Europe.

"Scotland showed a capability that they could compete with the best. I think it was an exceptional result and performance. I think they were first class. Everything from last night is positive.

"I don't think anyone can appreciate the spin-off from that result - it will be enormous - not just the result, but in terms of replica kit sales, attitude towards the game here, coaching courses and recruitment, players wanting to play in Scotland. In every way, the game benefits."

Brown, now a non-executive director at Aberdeen, reckons Strachan will have a dilemma for the challenge match against England at Wembley on August 14 when many of his top players such as Gary Caldwell, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Steven Fletcher could be back.

"I said in the past that Scotland need their strongest team to compete but they proved last night that they don't need their strongest team," he said. "Gordon has a problem for the next game against England and it is the most pleasant problem any manager can have - do you change a winning team?"

Source: PA