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Page last updated at 22:41 GMT, Friday, 3 September 2010 23:41 UK

Craig Levein says ref did not give Scots protection

Levein angry Scots not protected

Angry and frustrated but pleased with his team's display was Craig Levein's reaction to Scotland's opening Euro 2012 qualifying draw away to Lithuania.

"I am frustrated," the coach told BBC Scotland. "I am absolutely delighted with the attitude of the players.

"The biggest frustration for me was the performance of the referee. Anytime we got any rhythm going at all, they brought us down, foul after foul.

"Guys in their team had five or six fouls without getting a caution."

Officials statistics suggest Lithuania committed 25 fouls, only four more than Scotland, and were shown four yellow cards - twice as many as their opponents.

But Levein insisted that his own players were still not given enough protection by Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakira during the 0-0 draw.

"That really disappointed me because I felt that that was a tactic of theirs to try to break up any moves we had going," he said.

Scots duo say display to build on

"They were happy with a point in the end because I think they realised we were better than them tonight."

Levein was, though, heartened that the Scots had improved in comparison to last month's friendly defeat in Stockholm.

Indeed, the visitors had six attempts on target compared to just one for the hosts.

"After the last game in Sweden, and I know there are a lot of different players in the team, but it was important that we showed everybody that playing for Scotland and pulling on the blue jersey really matters and I think the lads showed that tonight," he said.

"We had some good chances. Away from home in these international matches, you don't often get as many chances as we got tonight.

"The result obviously is the most important thing, but I am looking to see if there is something there we can build on and the answer is most definitely yes."

The draw leaves the Scots two points behind group favourites and world champions Spain, who won 4-0 in Liechtenstein, after the opening games of Group I.

However, Levein, who said before the match that he had set up his side to prevent the concession of any early goals, had not been prepared to go all out for a victory in the second half.

"I think we would have opened the game up completely," he said, having left the dangerous James McFadden on the bench until after the break.

"We are the away team and I was not prepared to do that at that stage.

"We did add Faddy and James Morrison, who I thought made a difference as well and I was relatively happy."


Levein insisted there was no need for Scotland fans to become disheartened as there was a long way to go in the group.

"Away from home in these competitions, and I said this before the competition started, the biggest challenges for us, let's assume that Spain with their quality will win the group, will be in Lithuania and Czech Republic," he said.

"If we can get points in both those games then that obviously is a good result."

Scotland captain Darren Fletcher also thought the signs were good.

"It was a difficult 90 minutes," he said. "It was a game of stop-start, foul after foul, but I thought that, if one team looked like scoring, it was going to be us.

"We just could not get that final pass or that final touch. We had a couple of half chances here and there, but we just could not manage to put the ball in the back of the net, which would have rounded off a very decent performance.

"But it is a difficult place to come as they are not far behind us in the world rankings."

Right-back Alan Hutton thought that a win over Liechtenstein next week was now vital.

"We did everything bar score and I hope we can build on that for Tuesday," he said.

"We've got great ability in the squad and we are improving under the new manager after every training session."

see also
Lithuania 0-0 Scotland
03 Sep 10 |  Scotland
International football photos
03 Sep 10 |  Football
Scotland win vital, say pundits
02 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Lithuania look to Scottish links
02 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Scots call-up a fairytale - Gilks
31 Aug 10 |  Scotland
Weir set for Scotland milestone
30 Aug 10 |  Scotland
Arteta pick not possible - Levein
30 Aug 10 |  Scotland
McCulloch relief at Scots return
30 Aug 10 |  Rangers
Veteran Weir is best man - Levein
25 Aug 10 |  Football
Weir and Hartley back for Scots
24 Aug 10 |  Football
BBC to screen Scotland away ties
16 Aug 10 |  Scotland
Caldwell targets return for Spain
21 Jul 10 |  Football
Scotland face Spain in Euro group
07 Feb 10 |  Football
Football on the BBC
11 Aug 10 |  Football

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Edinburgh Evening News Lithuania 0 - 0 Scotland: Stifled Scotland cry foul - 27 hrs ago Scots boss pleased and frustrated in equal measures - 28 hrs ago
Yahoo! UK and Ireland Scotland rugby coach Levein launches attack on ref - 36 hrs ago
Mail Online UK Lithuania 0 Scotland 0: Craig Levein lashes out at foul play after false start - 40 hrs ago