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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 September 2007, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
McLeish hails impact from bench
Scotland manager Alex McLeish
McLeish saw his side struggle to carve out chances from open play
Scotland boss Alex McLeish praised substitutes Shaun Maloney and James McFadden after the win over Lithuania.

"We needed inspiration, a change, and I'm glad to say we've got great options on the bench to give us that and it happened," he told BBC Sport.

"I spoke to James before the game very briefly and said that things can change 'like that' - I clicked my fingers - and those were prophetic words.

"I told him to link up with the strikers - and he did it beautifully."

Maloney set up Stephen McManus to score with his first touch and McFadden's brilliant strike completed a 3-1 victory.

But neither men are guaranteed a starting place against France on Wednesday.

"James is not particularly happy out wide, but we felt that it's amazing the amount of times wide players on their opposite side can produce something," added McLeish.

"It took us five or six minutes to get him on the ball and he produced a little bit of magic right away.

"But he's only played 114 minutes (for Everton) over a three-month period.

"Should he have started? I seriously doubt that. I don't know if we'd have got that inspiration there."

Kris Boyd's opening goal was cancelled out by a Lithuanian penalty, awarded when the referee was fooled by a dive from Hearts winger Saulius Mikoliunas.

When asked about the incident, McLeish said: "It's disappointing but it happens more outside of Scotland than it does in this country."

Captain Darren Fletcher, who made the challenge on Mikoliunas, had more to say.

Scotland's Gary Teale ina ction at Hampden
Scotland fell out of the match for a spell but finished strongly

"It would have been sickening if we had dropped points because of something like that," said the midfielder.

"It really hurts when players try to gain an advantage like that.

"It's a bit embarassing for him but we've got to be bigger than that and come back from it.

"The players showed great character. It was similar to the Georgia match when we got pegged back before going on to win."

The result keeps Scotland in with a chance of qualifying for next year's European Championship finals in Austria and Switzerland.

"With the more points we put on the board other teams start looking over their shoulder," added McLeish, who must now plan for the trip to Paris.

Regular skipper Barry Ferguson will be back from suspension and is likely to be deployed in a five-man midfield.

"It will certainly be a different way we play and a different formation," said McLeish.

"I would think it would be absolutely crazy to go 4-4-2 in France.

"I don't think anybody in their right mind would, so we will be looking closely at the personnel and Ferguson of course comes into our thoughts."

*Match highlights will be available on the BBC's Sportscene website to UK users only. To watch full match highlights visit the SFA website where a charge will apply.

SEE ALSO
Scotland 3-1 Lithuania
08 Sep 07 |  Internationals
Scotland Player Rater
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Mikoliunas offers no dive apology
08 Sep 07 |  Internationals
International football photos
08 Sep 07 |  Football


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