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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 01:13 GMT
McLeish takes heart from B game
Chris Armstrong makes his Scotland B debut
Chris Armstrong set up Scotland B's equaliser against Ireland
Scotland manager Alex McLeish insisted he had been given "food for thought" despite his B side being lucky to hold their Irish counterparts to a 1-1 draw.

"Big Buzz, that's Graeme Smith, had a terrific game in goal," he said. "That's the first I have seen of Chris Armstrong and I liked what I saw.

"And, while it wasn't a brilliant performance, we started well and finished it well.

"It just shows you can never write the Scots off."

Motherwell goalkeeper Smith was the most impressive Scot on show at Airdrie's Excelsior Stadium.

English-born pair Steve Howard and Chris Armstrong played in the blue of Scotland for the first time.

Good target men are a dying breed and I think I offer something different

Derby striker Steve Howard

And it was Sheffield United left-back Armstrong who provided the cross for an otherwise quiet Howard to score Scotland's late equaliser.

"Steve's strength is from crosses into the box," said McLeish of the 31-year-old Derby County forward.

"We hardly got a cross in all night, but the one cross we got in he scored."

McLeish had also given Charlton Athletic striker Chris Iwelumo a late international chance at the age of 29.

"They have been on the radar for a while and must have thought they would never get their chance, but it was vital that we had a look at them," said the manager.

While McLeish said he hoped both would get another opportunity, he recognised that there was younger blood coming through.

"We have lot of good young players on the horizon and we can look forward with optimism with the kids coming through," he said.

But Howard insisted that he deserved another crack at becoming a late bloomer at international level.


"Good target men are a dying breed and I think I offer something different," he said.

"If I didn't think I could make the grade, I wouldn't have come up here."

Iwelumo was also hopeful of becoming part of Scotland squad for the next World Cup campaign while recognising that he could have done better against the Republic.

"I thought I did okay, although I wasn't given any chances to score," he said.

"Every player wants to play for their country, it is a fantastic honour, and hopefully the chance will come again."

Armstrong said a call-up to the Scotland set-up made his battle against a career-threatening knee injury worthwhile.

"I was out for a year and a half," said the 25-year-old. "But this is what all the hard work was for."

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