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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 07:00 GMT 08:00 UK
Strachan hails Scottish revival
Celtic boss Gordon Strachan
Strachan says the number of Scots playing in the Champions League is benefitting the national side
Celtic boss Gordon Strachan says Scottish football is on a real high after seeing his side beat AC Milan.

With Rangers winning in Lyon and the national side upsetting France in a recent Euro 2008 qualifier, Strachan says the Scots have lots to celebrate.

"It's been a wonderful couple of nights," he said.

"For Rangers to go and beat Lyon the way they did and for us to beat the European champions and Scotland doing so well, it's absolutely fantastic."

Goals from skipper Stephen McManus and Australian striker Scott McDonald gave Celtic a surprise 2-1 victory over Milan at Celtic Park on Wednesday.

It was their first win in Group D of the Champions League and lifted them up to second in the table behind Shakhtar Donetsk, who beat them 2-0 in Ukraine a fortnight ago.

We planned not to lose it in the first half so we planned to win it in the second half

Gordon Strachan

But the Glasgow side's joy was tempered by an incident involving one of their fans, who ran on to the pitch and appeared to strike Milan goalkeeper Dida.

The Brazilian was eventually stretchered off clutching an ice pack to the right-hand side of his face.

Strachan says he did not see the incident and preferred to focus on what was a special night for his club.

"We planned not to lose it in the first half so we planned to win it in the second half," he said. "Fortunately for us, it worked out that way.

"I felt we could get something from set-pieces and I selected a side with a good bit of height."

McManus broke the deadlock on 62 minutes before Milan levelled when Kaka converted a penalty after Lee Naylor had tugged the shirt of Massimo Ambrosini.

Scott McDonald celebrates Celtic's victory
Scott McDonald celebrates Celtic's victory at the final whistle

"I didn't think the ball was anywhere near them, it was that high," said Strachan.

"We felt aggrieved at that and I think the boys were in shock for a couple of minutes and then they handled it.

"There was anger coming into our play and that gave them that extra energy to go on."

Melbourne-born McDonald got the winner in the 90th minute, side-footing home after Dida failed to hold on to a shot from Gary Caldwell.

"He deserved it because he's got guts," Strachan said of his match-winner.

"At times his football wasn't on top form, but that was because of the conditions and who he was playing again.

"But I thought Scott, Scott Brown and Aidan McGeady were fantastic team-mates. Anytime they lost the ball they were getting back, sliding in, getting a toe in.

"All those things gave us a platform to score the winning goal - and Scott really deserved it."

Strachan feels the success of Celtic and Rangers on the European stage is making a massive contribution to the fortunes of the Scottish national team.

MY SPORT: DEBATE
Alistair M - BBC Sport

Alex McLeish's side lead their Euro 2008 qualifying group, with World Cup winners Italy, France and Ukraine all below them in the table.

With games against Ukraine (h), Georgia (a) and Italy (h) to come, they are on course to reach the finals, which are being co-hosted by Austria and Switzerland.

"I do believe it's because there are so many Scots playing at Celtic and Rangers," said Strachan.

"They are getting a taste of playing at the highest level. They are out there competing against the world's best in the Champions League.

"That helps Scotland and because they are doing so well with their country they come back to our club feeling good about themselves. So it is a continuous feel-good factor."

SEE ALSO
Celtic 2-1 AC Milan
03 Oct 07 |  Europe
Champions League photos
03 Oct 07 |  Europe
Lyon 0-3 Rangers
02 Oct 07 |  Europe
France 0-1 Scotland
12 Sep 07 |  Internationals
McLeish proud of superb Scotland
13 Sep 07 |  Internationals


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