Strachan hails 'incredible experience'

Gordon Strachan felt a mixture of nerves and excitement ahead of his Scotland managerial bow

Gordon Strachan felt a mixture of nerves and excitement ahead of his Scotland managerial bow

First published in National Sport News © by

Gordon Strachan admitted his Scotland managerial debut had sparked feelings he had never experienced in his career after leading his country to a 1-0 friendly win over Estonia.

Strachan was "blown away" by nerves and excitement in the run-up to the game, which Scotland won thanks to Charlie Mulgrew's 38th-minute goal. As a manager, Strachan has experienced cup finals on both sides of the border but he admitted nothing could have prepared him for managing his country.

The former Southampton and Celtic boss said: "I'm glad it's all over because in 40 years of football that is probably the most excited and nervous I have been before a game in my life. I didn't know how I would feel when I first took charge of the team. Now I know. It was an incredible experience."

He continued: "I don't think I expected that. I thought I had done nearly everything in the game, played everywhere, and it kind of blew me away really. I've been in the Champions League, I have had to beat AC Milan, Barcelona, Man United, and it wasn't like that."

The former Manchester United and Leeds midfielder admitted he had trouble sleeping the night before the game. He said: "I think it's when you're on your own at times, when you wake up in the morning and you go 'bang, here we go'. It's okay when you get here. I don't know what it was, but it was a bit different."

Strachan employed a 4-2-3-1 formation in the first half with Steven Naismith, Shaun Maloney and Chris Burke, making his first Scotland appearance since 2006, tasked with providing the service to lone striker Steven Fletcher.

Scotland led at half-time after Mulgrew swept home Charlie Adam's free-kick following a training-ground move and Strachan moved to a 4-4-2 after the break when Jordan Rhodes came on.

The worsening Pittodrie pitch and a number of substitutions disrupted the flow of the game but Strachan was encouraged by the performance after telling his players to take opponents on and run off their markers.

"There were things we wanted to do and to a certain extent we did it," he said. "We wanted to get players playing between lines, being brave enough to put it in there. Sometimes we were brave enough, and then when we got between lines, we had to go and eliminate people.

"We did that at certain times, we got free-kicks, and I asked players to take people on. But there's a point where if you can't go through there, the players have got to go somewhere else and change it. Once we get to do that properly then we will be fine."

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