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Scotland manager Craig Levein delighted with Czech win

Craig Levein congratulates goalscorer Scott Brown
Levein congratulates Scotland's goal hero Scott Brown

Craig Levein was delighted after getting his reign as Scotland boss off to a winning start with the 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic at Hampden.

"The signs are encouraging, but I'm not kidding myself on, we have a long way to go," Levein told BBC Radio Scotland.

"We have a group of players who are capable of playing in a certain manner that will allow us to win games.

"I'm really pleased with the result, delighted with the response I got this week from the players."

Scotland's first friendly victory at Hampden since 1996 came courtesy of a Scott Brown shot on 62 minutes.

The goal came during a period the visitors were dominating, with the Czechs starting strongly at the start of the match and immediately after the interval.

Proud Levein elated with win

Scotland were timid in the opening stages, with lone striker Kenny Miller an isolated figure but grew in confidence after Brown's strike and went close to adding a second goal when Jaroslav Drobny saved well from Steven Whittaker late in the game.

"I thought we were nervous early on and I can maybe take some responsibility, as we sat too deep," explained Levein.

"I talked about being hard to beat, keeping it tight and not leaving gaps between the various units in the team and I think that resulted in us being too negative.

"We weren't in a position to go gung-ho and charge forward and sometimes it can be a bit sedate and boring, but the fans were patient with us. They stuck with us and I think they saw a few signs that we are going to improve.

"There were a lot of things out on the pitch I'd like to have been better, but you have to temper that with the fact that the lads are going back to their clubs with smiles on their faces because they've won an international game.

"Alan Hutton had a fantastic game and, for a young lad, I thought Graham Dorrans was magnificent, while Scott Brown showed some lovely touches."

Scotland players react to win

West Brom midfielder Dorrans, who made his debut for Scotland against Japan in October, was pleased with own his performance and felt Scotland had given a good account of themselves against difficult opposition.

"It was really enjoyable - the lads worked extremely hard," he said.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game but we knew what we were up against. I thought we matched them in every department.

"The first 20 minutes were a bit nervy, but after that I thought we controlled the game, but big Craig Gordon made a few good saves.

"We got a good test, so hopefully we can match them in the championships."

Scotland will face the Czechs again in the qualifying race for Euro 2012 and Gordon, who made two fine stops to deny Vaclav Sverkos, saw enough to remain wary of the side managed by Michal Bilek.

"They are a good side and will give us a bigger test when the games start for real," the Sunderland goalkeeper told BBC Scotland.

"They are very technically gifted and they caused us a few problems.

"But it's good to get the win. It shows them that they can't take us lightly.

Smicer bemoans lack of Czech goals

"I'm sure we will have a few more get-togethers before the qualifiers begin and the manager will be working on the shape of the team, but this is a good start and a step in the right direction."

Czech Republic boss Bilek also thought that Scotland will see a different side when both teams met again in the European Championship qualifiers.

"It's a shame we didn't succeed because we were the better team," he said.

"But we didn't manage to score the goal and Scotland had one attack and managed to beat us.

"Today's game wasn't for real, so when it comes to qualification it will be a different story."

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see also
Scotland 1-0 Czech Republic
03 Mar 10 |  Football
Boyd wants to repay Scotland fans
04 Mar 10 |  Football

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