Despite falling to defeat in his first game since returning as Scotland manager, Alex McLeish remains eager to restore pride among the Tartan Army.
Scotland went down 1-0 in Friday’s friendly against Costa Rica, in front of a Hampden Park crowd of just over 20,000.
McLeish, who won seven out of 10 fixtures during his short previous spell in charge of the national side in 2007, says the performance fell short of expectation but he is intent on bringing improvement, starting with tomorrow’s friendly against Hungary in Budapest.
McLeish said: “Thank goodness it was not in-competition as it obviously was not good enough for competition, but there is a process. I want my Scottish record to be good. At the end of the day I’m disappointed with the defeat but in the second half we had enough chances that we possibly should have had a draw out of it at least. But there is the difference.
“We will keep striving. We have to try to nullify the perspective that it’s the same old Scotland, and show everyone that is not the case by having not only good and competitive performances, but winning performances. It’s easy to talk but we will be looking for an improvement.”
McLeish experimented with a number of fresh options against Costa Rica, handing debuts to five players including Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna.
Former Dons player McLeish felt the lack of familiarity in the squad showed against a slick Costa Rica outfit, ranked 26th in the world (Scotland are 32nd) and preparing to play in this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.He added: “Some of it worked, some of it did not. I was a bit disappointed about the first half but much more pleased with the second. There were a lot of changes, five new caps and not a rhythm. We had five days of training, and some of the guys didn’t train a couple of the days because of Sunday games. Although we’ve had five days together, we’ll need longer to get a feel for each other, and the rhythm that Costa Rica have.”