Scotland's hopes still alive after late Martin victor

Even at this early stage of the qualification campaign, Scotland's hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russian Federation are hanging by a thread.

And Strachan says anything less than a win when the Slovenians visit Hampden will spell the end of another qualification bid.

"There's no grey areas to it". We have done really well to bolster our chances and we'll be ready positive going into the next game. If we were sitting here saying the team that we had last night is the same team that's going to play on Sunday night, and therefore the manager has to come up with some story to convince them that they are going to do better on Sunday night than they did last night, then I tell you what, I would be anxious.

The game was do or die and from the outset it was evident Scotland were gunning for victory in what was a whirlwind first five minutes.

I sincerely hope we win the game, but if we don't then spare Gordon the third degree. "We as players need to take on that criticism as well".

"If they hadn't got the win, I think Gordon would have walked", said Boyd.

With the pressure of keeping their qualification hopes alive and the threat to their manager's future, it was not an easy worldwide camp, but Armstrong felt they had approached the game in the right manner.

"We had some very good additions this time round, Stuart Armstrong had a great debut and deservedly man of the match. And I think we responded really well".

Strachan needs not only three points against Srecko Katanec's team but to restore the sense that, after four years in charge, Scotland have an identifiable way of playing, a trusted core and increasing competition for places. You might think that's odd but it's not.

After starting 16 of the previous 17 qualifiers - a meaningless game against Gibraltar the only exception - Martin was dropped for November's 3-0 defeat by England.

Among the manager's concerns is who will fill the right-back slot.

"We will have to combat the strength and ability of Slovenia, because they are a right good side". I know my team and everybody is clear on what should happen. They have shown that over the campaign so far.

There was little practical time to test things out either before kick-off and much of the tactical approach was of a theoretical nature on whiteboards and England's grasp of what was required against an admittedly under-strength German team was eyecatching looking to the longer term.

"There's a lot of things said about the gaffer that is probably unfair", Griffiths said.

"If we can get it together then we will be fine". "Everything went very well, considering we were giving away height and strength". We've got the players now.

  • Julie Sanders