Levein backs Forrest to flourish

Slovenia 1 Scotland 1

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The Independent Online

Christophe Berra's first-half header gave Scotland a solid if uninspiring draw in the port of Koper. The midfielder Andraz Kirm gave Slovenia the lead in the 32nd minute with a header but seven minutes later Berra buried the ball past Handanovic from Charlie Adam's corner.

"In the first half, we played some excellent football and made some good chances," the Scotland manager, Craig Levein, said. "The inexperienced players will have gained enormously from this experience.

"Charlie, considering he played 120 minutes on Sunday, I thought was excellent, as was James McArthur and James Morrison.

"Young James Forrest deserves a special mention. I gave him a task tonight to get on the ball and get up the pitch, and drive at the full-back and create opportunities. He did all those things and more so I was really pleased for him."

The home side were happy to employ a blanket defence and the guile the visitors needed came from Adam, who nearly created a goal for Morrison in the 26th minute. Allan McGregor tipped a Valter Birsa free-kick over the bar a minute later, before Morrison tested Handanovic again with an angled drive. In the 32nd minute Miso Brecko managed to get a cross past Charlie Mulgrew and Kirm rose above Russell Martin to head past McGregor. The Scots levelled before the break.

In the second half, Morrison had another attempt on goal and Barry Bannan, on for Adam, forced a decent save from Handanovic. But the early energy had gone and substitutions began to disrupt the flow of the game.

In the 80th minute, Jamie Mackie came close when he headed a Robert Snodgrass cross just past the post. In the end, though, both sides were probably happy to settle for the draw.

Scotland McGregor; Martin, Berra, Caldwell, Mulgrew; McArthur, Adam (Bannan, ht), Morrison (Dorrans, 71), Forrest (Robson, 86), Mackie (Miller, 78); Mackail-Smith (Snodgrass, 59). Substitutes Gilks, Cowie, Goodwillie, Hanley, Foster, Gordon.

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