European Championship qualifiers: Strachan eager to focus on Scottish strength despite Poland’s unexpected heroics

Scotland got their European Championship qualifying campaign up and running with a dominant  display against Georgia

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The Independent Football

Gordon Strachan, the  Scotland manager, has claimed he was too happy with his own team’s performance on Saturday to let Poland’s surprise win over Germany spoil his night.

Scotland got their European Championship qualifying campaign up and running with a dominant  display against Georgia, although it took an own goal to clinch a 1-0 win at Ibrox. But, just as they were getting back to their team hotel, Poland were shocking the world champions 2-0 in Warsaw.

The result gives the Poles the chance to build up a six-point lead over Scotland in Group D when the teams meet at the national stadium in the Polish capital tonight. But Strachan will not be derailed by results elsewhere as  Scotland, who lost 2-1 to Germany in Dortmund last month, go in search of their first away points.

He said: “First of all I have got to congratulate Adam Nawalka and his coaching staff and his players for a truly magnificent result. It was a fantastic result for Polish  football and the players they have got.

“This group, I think, is the hardest of all the sections and the results in the first two rounds bear that up. It’s a  fantastic group and there will be ups and downs down to the final game. We want to be in there in the final game, just as Poland does, to qualify.”

Scotland pushed Georgia back for the vast majority of the first half and also created some good chances after the interval, so Strachan said he did not share Scotland fans’ disappointment when they watched Poland claim three points they could not have banked on.

“I was too happy with our own play to be honest,” he said. “If we had played badly and lost some goals and got beat, it might have made some difference, but the positivity surrounding the camp [wasn’t affected].

“It would be wrong of me to imagine that Poland are going to get beat. The game is all about bravery and that’s what they had on Saturday – fantastic goalkeeping,  fantastic energy, fantastic belief. So we applaud them.

Scotland secured a 1-0 win in Warsaw in March with  Brighton’s Gordon Greer and Norwich’s Russell Martin in central defence, so Strachan can still be confident despite losing Grant Hanley to injury.

Poland’s talismanic striker Robert Lewandowski missed that encounter with injury though. The Scotland manager also has Aberdeen defender Mark Reynolds and Ipswich centre-back Christophe Berra as back-up.

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