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Robertson: I wasn't criticising Alex McLeish's tactics

The Scotland captain insists he wasn't having "a pop" at the formation used against Israel.

Confident: Robertson says Scotland will improve.
Confident: Robertson says Scotland will improve. SNS Group

Scotland captain Andy Robertson has insisted he wasn't criticising manager Alex McLeish's tactics in the aftermath of the defeat in Israel.

The national team let a lead slip as they went down 2-1 in the Nations League match against a side ranked 94th in the world.

Robertson played at wing-back with Kieran Tierney in the centre of a three-man defence. After the match Robertson said his role was "a lot harder" and that both he and Tierney would rather play at left-back, as they do for their clubs.

Ahead of the friendly against Portugal, the Liverpool star sought to clarify his remarks, saying they should not be taken as a complaint about the tactics.

"What I said after the game, I stick by, that me and Kieran Tierney are used to playing left-back and are both playing a position that we don't usually play at club level," he said. "But that doesn't mean that's an excuse for both of us.

"The whole team haven't been good enough, especially on Thursday, and there's no excuse in terms of positions. We can still get the basics right, which we never did on Thursday.

"I have played wing-back at Hull before, but in a slightly different position, so it's a wee bit different for me. But it's something I am willing to learn. If the gaffer chooses to stick with this formation, then it's something I need to get better at.

"Maybe people took it as if I was taking a dig at the gaffer. Some people said that, which I completely disagree with. I have a very good relationship with the gaffer and it wasn't a pop by any means, it was more me saying I need to learn it and every game I'm trying to learn it.

"It will take time, but all of us are learning different positions, so we need to do that. That's part and parcel of having a new manager, it happens at club level and international level.

"It will get better as we learn the system a wee bit more and that's what we are doing. Every time we meet up we are working hard and hopefully we start seeing the performances on the pitch that the efforts on the training ground deserve.

"I have confidence that players can perform better, in that formation if we do that. It's up to the players to take responsibility and perform, and we have not done that, especially on Thursday."

McLeish indicated that he was likely to stick with the system for the double-header against Albania and Israel next month, though Tierney's withdrawal for the squad will mean a change against Portugal on Sunday.

However, the manager said that he believed that Robertson and Tierney liked their roles in the team.

"I don't want to start throwing Kieran over to right-back," he added. "I know it worked on one or two occasions, but I don't think he wants to play there anyway and he'd be out of position. Yes, he'd be a full-back, but he'd be out of his natural position and I think he quite likes the centre-half role.

"I think they like the roles, but adjusting to it is obviously the key. But there's other parts of the team where we have to be stronger as well."

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