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Page last updated at 21:11 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 22:11 UK

Scotland boss Craig Levein defends system in defeat

Levein defends Scotland system

Craig Levein insists he was happy with his controversial formation despite Scotland's 1-0 defeat by the Czech Republic in their Euro 2012 qualifier.

"I was happy with it," said the coach about a formation in Prague that did not include an out-and-out striker.

"I picked a system that I thought was working very well.

"We lost a goal to a set-piece, but I can't fault the lads for what we did tonight. We restricted them for the majority of the game."

Roman Hubnik scored the only goal with a close-range header in the 70th minute, but it was a game that rarely featured Scotland as an attacking force.

Levein had played without an out-and-out striker, leaving an in-form Kenny Miller frustrated and apparently angry on the bench.

Asked what he would say to those who will say he should have used a different system, the Scotland boss sarcastically told BBC Scotland: "Yes, and that different system always results in a victory doesn't it?

We have a game on Tuesday and it gives us a chance to bounce back from this defeat

Scotland coach Craig Levein

"The whole game plan wasn't to lose a goal and, when we lose a goal, it all changes, of course.

"We lost a goal to a set-piece, which generally we are good at defending, but I think we had some pretty good performances out there.

"A lot of hard work went into the performance tonight and I can't fault them."

Scotland now have four points from three games ahead of the match against world champions Spain at Hampden on Tuesday night.

"We have a game on Tuesday and it gives us a chance to bounce back from this defeat," said Levein.

"I made it pretty clear that I picked a system to play against the Czech Republic and it will be a different system on Tuesday night.

"It's not disastrous. The Czech Republic have still to come to play at Hampden and, if we win that game, it evens it up over the two matches.

"It's not a fatal blow by any stretch of the imagination. We are still in it, we will keep working as hard as we did this evening and we will do our best to improve for Tuesday and the games that are still to come."

Naismith regrets set-piece goal

Scotland forward Steven Naismith denied any suggestions of unrest among the players over Levein's formation.

"The manager is very thorough in what he does," he said. "He does a lot of homework on the other teams and every player is right behind. He has a good spirit in the team.

"We are all professional footballers and we can adapt. We all play different systems with our clubs and everybody knew their roles and had worked hard on it all week.

"We perhaps did not make the best of the opportunities that came our way."

Naismith thought the Scots still had a chance of qualifying for the finals in Poland and Ukraine despite the defeat.

"It is very disappointing," he added. "The biggest thing we are disappointed with is that it was a set play. They have not carved us open.

"The Czech Republic have quality players who can cut you open, but it was a set-piece got through us."



see also
Levein's Scots fail to impress
09 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Prague pundits' reaction
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Bilek lauds winning Czech players
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Czech Republic 1-0 Scotland
08 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Chick Young's view
07 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Victory in Prague can be achieved
07 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Bardsley proud Scot after U-turn
06 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Caldwell keen to aid Scots' cause
04 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Czechs without Baros for Scotland
03 Oct 10 |  Scotland
Naismith buoyed by Rangers form
01 Oct 10 |  Rangers
Scots call on Gordon and Caldwell
30 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Mackie proud of Scotland call-up
30 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Xavi to miss Spain's Glasgow trip
30 Sep 10 |  Scotland
Boyd trying too hard - Strachan
27 Sep 10 |  Scotland
No Scotland U-turn for Ferguson
27 Sep 10 |  Scotland


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