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Page last updated at 22:57 GMT, Tuesday, 12 October 2010 23:57 UK

Craig Levein 'sick' after Scotland defeat to Spain

Highlights - Scotland 2-3 Spain

Scotland coach Craig Levein admitted to being "sick" after having a valuable point snatched from his grasp by Spain's winner at Hampden.

The Scots battled back from two down to draw level but Fernando Llorente fired a winner for the visitors.

"I'm absolutely gutted that we didn't get anything from the game," Levein told BBC Scotland.

"I couldn't be prouder of the players. There's great encouragement to be taken from the way they applied themselves."

A spot-kick gave Spain the lead, David Villa converting after Steven Whittaker had been penalised for handball, and Andres Iniesta added a second after the break.

But Steven Naismith's first Scotland goal and Gerard Pique's own goal put the hosts on course for a draw with the world and European champions.

However, substitute Fernando Llorente ghosted in behind Stephen McManus to fire Spain's winner with 11 minutes left.

At the end of the day, it's two defeats and it's hard to take

Scotland goalkeeper
Allan McGregor

"They're all bad goals," said Levein. "We've made a couple of mistakes, unfortunately they've been punished.

"At times, Spain were just breathtaking, the way they knocked the ball about. We expected them to be very good and we expected that our defence would have to be good and our goalkeeper, who I must say was fabulous, had to be good but it was a real team effort.

"I'm proud of every single one of them and the supporters will be proud of the way we played and the way they wore their heart on their sleeves. Everything that I've asked of them, they've done their best. I can't speak highly enough of them.

"Kenny Miller made a fantastic run for the first goal and Steven Naismith's made up about 60 yards and that tells you these guys are working for each other and that's what pleases me as a manager.

"I'm sick, absolutely sick that we didn't get something from the game."

Levein also paid tribute to the contribution made by supporters at Hampden.

"The fans were absolutely brilliant tonight," said Levein. "We started the game fairly positively and they got a lift from that and then in turn they lifted the players and the players lifted them again.

"I felt there was a real chemistry between the players and supporters tonight. When this place is rocking like it was then it's a great help.

Players were all heroes, says gutted Levein

"I thanked the players after the game for their performance tonight and I'd like to give my heartfelt thanks to the supporters for their performance, the backing and the belief in the players."

Levein was criticised for a perceived 4-6-0 formation in Friday's defeat to Czech Republic in Prague.

And, when asked about whether the outcome of that match would have been different if Scotland had taken the same approach as they did against Spain, Levein replied: "I don't want to talk about that.

"It's a different game altogether. I think that's been long overdone."

With Scotland not due to play another qualifying game until September, Levein says he will try to organise a B international in November to assess some other players before the Nations Cup in February and May.

And the national coach was impressed with Jamie Mackie and Phil Bardsley, who both made their Scotland debuts during the international double-header.

"Guys can see just how much it means for them to play for Scotland and that goes right throughout the team."

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor made several impressive saves to keep Scotland in the game and felt his side had done enough to gain a point.

"I thought all the boys showed great determination to come back from 2-0 down," said the Rangers keeper. "The boys showed great character.

"I thought we could easily down tools and not press the ball and let them have it. It's just unfortunate that they got the winner.

"What we got asked to do in Czech Republic, we did well. It was just unlucky that a set-piece beat us.

"And again tonight, what we got asked to do, we did well. We played differently. Obviously, it's different with the home support, it gives you a great buzz.

"At the end of the day, it's two defeats and it's hard to take."

see also
Scots can build on Spain pain
13 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Spain praise for Scottish spirit
13 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Scotland 2-3 Spain
12 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Scotland v Spain as it happened
12 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Scotland v Spain photo gallery
12 Oct 10 |  Scotland

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