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Whittaker retains Euro hope
Published : 08 Sep 2011 10:30:07
Steven Whittaker insists Scotland still have everything to play for as their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign heads towards its climax.
A 1-0 win over Lithuania on Tuesday night kept alive their hopes of a play-off spot, albeit Saturday's 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic means their fate is no longer in their own hands. The Czechs are currently in the driving seat to finish as runners-up with a two-point advantage over Craig Levein's men.
Whittaker said: "We need to take the positives out of the two fixtures. We've got Liechtenstein away and we are capable of taking points from there. Then we will see what we need in the last game (against Group I winners Spain) and see how the other results go in the first set of fixtures. There is still a lot to play for."
Steven Naismith grabbed the only goal of the game to secure a vital victory over Lithuania after Darren Fletcher failed to convert from the penalty spot.
"Following the disappointment of the weekend, it was important that we got the three points," said Whittaker. "It was a little bit nervy at the end but we managed to see this one out.
"We created a number of chances in the first half and could probably have made it a bit more comfortable for ourselves than it was. There is always pressure, especially in qualifying games. There is pressure to perform well and get points and victories."
Selection problems meant Levein handed first competitive starts to Barry Bannan, David Goodwillie and Don Cowie for the midweek clash, with Bannan, in particular, impressing with a man-of-the-match performance.
Whittaker said: "We are growing as a team and there are a lot of young boys in there who are getting experience. I'm sure we will grow as a team and gain confidence.
"We can always improve all over the pitch, everyone can improve. Tactics and shape is a big thing.
"If you've not played a lot with the players beside you, it's important that you work as a team."