First Win For Strachan
Gordon Strachan vowed to play to Scotland's attacking strengths after starting his career as an international manager with a forward-heavy formation against Estonia.
Strachan deployed a 4-2-3-1 starting system with Steven Naismith, Shaun Maloney and Chris Burke playing behind centre-forward Steven Fletcher as Scotland won 1-0 at Pittodrie thanks to Charlie Mulgrew's first-half strike.
Robert Snodgrass and Kris Commons were given second-half appearances and Strachan will encourage such players to run at opponents when Scotland face Wales and Serbia in World Cup qualifiers on March 22 and 26 respectively.
Strachan said: ``If that's the players we have got... I look at the bench and see we have got a lot of them. ``We are a bit thin on the ground defender-wise but we have got players who I want to express themselves, beat players, make things happen. ``And they tried it. There is a certain point where we need to move it if we can't get through, but I thought the players who I asked to beat players did that well.'' Burke was particularly impressive on the right flank, beating his man on numerous occasions, running beyond him, linking well with full-back Alan Hutton and delivering several dangerous crosses.
Strachan was stunned to hear the 29-year-old had not played for Scotland since 2006, when he made his only two previous appearances in the successful Kirin Cup campaign. ``It shows you what I am like, if they look good, I am not fussed,'' he said. ``He has been playing well at Birmingham. My assistant at Celtic, and everywhere I have been (Garry Pendrey), goes to every Birmingham game and he says he is the best player Birmingham have got along with Curtis Davies. ``And I've seen him many a time live as well.'' While Strachan has resurrected Burke's international prospects, the goal came courtesy of a player who has rejuvenated his own career after failing to earn a regular place at Celtic under the Scotland boss. Strachan sold Mulgrew to Wolves but the versatile player, who lined up at left-back last night, has made himself a key player at Parkhead after returning to the club following a spell at Aberdeen. Strachan said: ``Charlie just seems more at ease with himself and more outgoing than he was as a young man. ``He takes more responsibility on. He has taken a few knocks and worked his way back to this position.''
In general, Strachan felt he could take ``bits and bobs'' from the game, which was played on a terrible pitch. ``I don't think you could actually ask for a top performance,'' he said. ``We were asking Charlie Adam to get on the ball and spray it around. ``But he literally couldn't spray it because of the wind. The ball was moving when he was going to kick it and he knew fine well it would be very hard to deliver. ``But that is the problem we have. Charlie did well but you can tell the ones who are playing regularly, and that's not Charlie's fault, and the ones who are not getting regular games.''