Smith takes defeat on chin

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The Independent Online

The Scotland manager Walter Smith admitted it was always going to be a lot to ask of his players to follow up their victory over France with a win in Ukraine. They suffered their first defeat of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign with a 2-0 reverse in Kiev on Wednesday night when a goal from Olexander Kucher and Andrei Shevchenko's penalty secured the three points.

"You do get a little greedy and think you can play as we did against France all the time," Smith said. "But, after the game against the French, it was going to take another big ask of us to come here and do it again.

"After that opening period of the second half I thought we were over the worst of it and the game would settle into a manner which suited us. But it didn't do so and, in terms of opportunities and territorial pressure, we cannot really complain. It was a different type of game being away from home and Ukraine are a different team to France and we had to adapt to that." It took a massive effort from Scotland to beat France at the weekend, but Smith did not believe fatigue had a part to play in their defeat to Ukraine and said: "There was still a lot of determination and a high work rate. I don't think Saturday's game impacted on this one."

A late red card for Steven Pressley rules him out of the next game against Georgia, along with James McFadden and Darren Fletcher after they both picked up their second bookings.

Ukraine were awarded a penalty when Robbie Neilson was judged to have fouled Shevchenko. The Hearts defender was making his Scotland debut and Smith felt he did well in difficult circumstances.

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