Strachan feels for his beaten Scottish players

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Strachan down but not out
Strachan down but not out

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan declared his side are still in contention for a top three finish in Euro 2016 qualifying group D despite their 3-2 defeat against world champions Germany at Hampden Park.

Strachan’s men appeared to hold most of the aces that the Repubic of Ireland wanted heading into the penultimate round of Euro 2016 qualifiers, but it is their neighbours who head into the last two matches with improbable glory in their grasp.

A dreadful Scottish display in the 1-0 defeat against Georgia last Friday may well have unpicked so much of the good work Strachan’s side have put in over the course of this campaign, yet they showed their resolve with a battling display against world champions Germany just four days later.

A desperate defeat may have been the final outcome in Glasgow, but the gritty qualities Strachan has instilled in his team were in evidence once more in front of a raucous Tartan Army.

In the end, Germany class trumped Scottish endeavour and Strachan was left to ponder what might have been.

“There’s a couple of times in my managerial career where I get angry or sad. Actually, at this point, you feel for the players,” said the former Celtic manager.

“Whatever you think, over two games they’ve put in some amount of work. Sometimes football is more than what you drink; what you eat and how you train.

“It’s inside you. No-one can tell me that every one of those guys has something inside them that drives them on.

“To stand up, after going behind to the world champions [twice] and to keep coming back, keep plugging away - they can be proud of their performances.”

Strachan ended with an upbeat note of optimism as he stated: “Let’s get this straight: we’re still in this. Trust me, we’re still in this.”