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Snodgrass fully focused on Scotland

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16 Oct 2013 08:46:54

Snodgrass fully focused on Scotland

Robert Snodgrass revealed he put the birth of his child to one side to shift his total focus on Tuesday's clash with Croatia as his goal helped Scotland to a 2-0 win.

Snodgrass headed home Charlie Mulgrew's 27th-minute cross and hit the post four minutes later despite joining the squad four days late on Sunday after being allowed to attend the birth of daughter Leonie.

Steven Naismith added a second after the break as Scotland finished their World Cup qualifying group in fourth place, above Wales and Macedonia.

Snodgrass said: "It's been stressful, there are so many emotions.

"I am delighted with the birth of my daughter but as soon as I left Norwich and came up here I had one aim and that was to help the boys to try and get a result against Croatia.

"Away from the football I am a family man but you deal with your private life. When you approach training or game day, you need to be mentally and physically ready for the challenge.

"Adrenalin shouldn't get anybody through a game, you should be mentally prepared and doing everything you possibly can physically to prepare.

"Obviously I couldn't physically prepare as much because I was at the birth of my daughter.

"Combine the two of them and it's been a great week but the most important thing for me tonight was to help Scotland get a good result."

Naismith marked his 25th cap with Scotland's second goal as he followed up Barry Bannan's saved penalty in the 73rd minute.

"Before the goal it was a special night because I have been given the chance to get 25 caps for my country," Naismith said.

"The goal is just a bonus on top of a fantastIc performance from the team, defensively and going forward."

Naismith admitted he was hoping to take the penalty itself.

"I was but Baz was quickest there and one he has got the ball he is quite hard to get the ball off," the Everton player said.

"I fully expected him to score. He probably has the most technical ability in the squad.

"Fortunately enough for me it came back off the goalie and I have put it in."

Croatia coach Igor Stimac offered his resignation to the country's federation after the loss.

He said: "It is a bad defeat. I offered my mandate (resignation) to the president of the Croatian Football Federation because of the latest results of our team, because everything that surrounds us.

"Never mind that we qualified for the play-offs, I want to show some morale, certain responsibility and if there is anyone in the federation that does not believe in my work I want to give them the chance to change.

"They will have a meeting to discuss it."

Stimac continued: "It is all about the positiveness surrounding the football in our country.

"It seems we are not happy in Croatia to qualify for the play-offs.

"We were not happy after the first game even though we beat Macedonia, we were not happy in the second when we drew against Belgium or beating Wales 2-0, they said it was supposed to be 15-0.

"After Wales we went to Macedonia and beat them 2-1 and they said that was not good because they were on the up, we beat Serbia 2-0 and they said we barely survived and the goalkeeper saved us.

"We beat Wales 2-1 and they said we were lucky. That's how it works in Croatia.

"There were a lot of people against me from the beginning."

Stimac praised the Scots, saying: "I told you yesterday that Gordon is the right man and he will improve it that much that you will be proud of it once again.

"I can only wish Mr Strachan all the luck."

Strachan appeared surprised to hear Stimac had offered to resign, saying: "I will speak to him. He is a lovely man, a terrific fellow."

But in a low-key press conference he played down the importance of Scotland's first home win of the campaign.

He said: "It might be of no importance whatsoever, but it makes you happy for a month.

"It was a nice way to finish the week. It has been hopefully enjoyable but hard work and when you put that kind of hard work in it is always nice to get a win.

"It was a big difference from the first game against Wales.

"But the players have gradually turned it round and they can be really proud of themselves."

Strachan praised Snodgrass and Naismith, saying: "Robert did well, playing in an unusual position for him.

"We were short of attacking bodies in forward positions and he did okay, scored a wonderful goal, hit the post and did a lot of good things, but his mate up front (Naismith) was terrific, everything about him.

"He is not the greatest player in the world, but he has a big heart and allows players in our team to play better.

"He wins headers, takes fouls and works incredibly hard so it was good to see him scoring a goal."


PA

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