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McLeish defends tactics after Scotland's Israel defeat

Alex McLeish blamed Charlie Mulgrew's injury and John Souttar's red card for defeat.

Alex McLeish defended his choice of tactics after Scotland lost in Israel, insisting injury to Charlie Mulgrew and a "soft" John Souttar red card were key factors in the defeat.

Mulgrew scored from the spot in the first half to give the Scots the lead, but McLeish's men unravelled after the break as Israel fought back to win.

Dor Peretz equalised before Hearts defender Souttar was sent off for a second booking and Kieran Tierney scored a late own goal to complete the turnaround.

McLeish pointed to the loss of influential centre-half Mulgrew and Souttar's "soft" dismissal as crucial factors behind the defeat.

"It was a game of two halves really," said McLeish. "We started really well and had good movement forward.

"We spoke at half time about starting fast but unfortunately we lose a soft goal and then we lost John Souttar (to a red card) as well - even more so Charlie Mulgrew at half-time, who was feeling really bad with a muscle strain.

"To lose two centre-halves makes it extremely hard."

Scotland were booed off the park by a section of the travelling support following the dismal defeat.

McLeish refuted questions over his decision to stick with five-at-the-back.

He continued: "The shape worked to a degree, we were very comfortable in the first half.

"If I was playing four at the back and Kieran Tierney wasn't playing or Andy Robertson wasn't playing, you (the media) would be looking for another system. I know how it works."

Scotland arrived late in Israel the day before the match. McLeish said the Scots' delayed schedule had no impact, but did feel the weather was a factor on the night in Haifa.

He said: "It was roasting out there, really warm.

"We spoke about it (travel arrangements) for a long time with the performance analysts and all bought into it.

"We can't use that as an excuse.

"A lot of the players were tired, it's not easy with ten men."

Asked if the defeat was a reality check, McLeish said: "Did we ever say we're at a level where we should be qualifying for major tournaments?

"We trying to build a team who can win consistently and are still not at that level.

"None of us thought Israel were a right bad team, they have some good players like Dabbur, they're not mugs."

https://stv.tv/sport/football/1431805-scotland-lose-in-israel-after-second-half-collapse/ | default

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