Strachan hails battling Scotland

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan heaped praise on his side after they battled to a crucial 1-0 home win over the Republic of Ireland in Euro 2016 qualifying, the Daily Mail has reported.

They had the better of the first half as they played the neater football, with Charlie Mulgrew and Steven Fletcher both coming close to opening the scoring. Ireland came into the game more after the break and almost broke the deadlock themselves thanks to Stephen Quinn’s header.

But the game’s defining moment arrived 16 minutes from the end as Shaun Maloney received a quickly-taken corner before curling a superb shot past David Forde to hand the Scots a victory which takes them level with Ireland and Germany – who beat Gibraltar 4-0 – level of seven points, three behind group leaders Poland after four games.

When asked after the game if his side had put in maximum effort to achieve the win, Strachan said: ‘I think so. They put so much into that game tonight. That was like one of those big heavyweight boxing matches. I absolutely wouldn’t second-guess the outcome of this group now.’

He went on to single out Mulgrew for praise, adding: ‘Charlie was immense, absolutely immense, Normally we would come in here and say: ‘What a game Scott Brown has had’. But Charlie has actually taken the mantle tonight and ably backed up by the people round about him.’

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