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Gordon Strachan enjoys ‘incredible experience’ with debut Scotland win

The new Scotland boss was encouraged by his players’ attitude in the 1-0 victory over Estonia.

Gordon Strachan Estonia friendly
SNS Group

Gordon Strachan has said that his first match as Scotland manager brought excitement he had never experienced in his long career in football.

Charlie Mulgrew’s first-half goal ensured a victorious debut for Strachan and though the occasion was only a friendly against Estonia, the manager said it was unforgettable.

"I'm glad it's all over because in 40 years of football that is probably the most excited and nervous I have been before a game in my life,” Strachan said.

"I didn't know how I would feel when I first took charge of the team. Now I know. It was an incredible experience.

"I don't think I expected that. I thought I had done nearly everything in the game, played everywhere, and it kind of blew me away really.

"I've been in the Champions League, I have had to beat AC Milan, Barcelona, Man United, and it wasn't like that."

Strachan’s first Scotland team began with Chris Burke back in the national team’s colours after a lengthy absence and, along with Steven Naismith and Shaun Maloney, supporting lone striker Steven Fletcher.

The goal that separated the sides came from a set piece with Charlie Adam supplying the delivery that allowed Mulgrew to score with a left-foot shot.

The attacking intent and threat from dead balls impressed the Scotland boss, particularly with the Pittodrie pitch making matter difficult for both teams.

"There were things we wanted to do and to a certain extent we did it," Strachan added.

"We wanted to get players playing between lines, being brave enough to put it in there. Sometimes we were brave enough, and then when we got between lines, we had to go and eliminate people.

"We did that at certain times, we got free-kicks, and I asked players to take people on.

"But there's a point where if you can't go through there, the players have got to go somewhere else and change it. Once we get to do that properly then we will be fine.”

Burke was singled out for praise along with midfield trio James mcArthur, James Morrison and Robert Snodgrass and Strachan has plenty of options to consider for the World Cup qualifier against Wales next month.

He said: "I liked some individual performances, the two midfield players that went on in the second half (McArthur and Morrison) were terrific. Burke, terrific. Snodgrass had a hard act to follow, he comes on and does well. That's what I wanted, people to take people on. We got that.

"The two centre-halves (Andy Webster and Christophe Berra) had to put up with a lot coming at them, nothing too dangerous, but they dealt with it nice and tidy. Because even then to pass it at the back wasn't easy.

"There are combinations that I thought 'that's good', combinations that we need to work on, and combinations that I thought 'nah, that's not so great'.

"It was good your first game is a friendly and you can have a look at a couple of things."

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