Scotland defender Kieran Tierney says getting their UEFA Nations League campaign off to a winning start shows no confidence has been lost through adverse results in friendlies.
Prior to Monday’s 2-0 victory over Albania, national team boss Alex McLeish had lost three of the four friendlies he had taken charge of, with only one goal scored.
The Scots had drawn criticism for opting to take on Belgium, ranked second in the world, in Friday’s 4-0 friendly loss at Hampden Park just three days before their first competitive fixture.
With another friendly at home to Portugal following next month’s Nations League trip to Israel, Celtic’s Tierney feels the bounce matches against high-quality opposition have been the ideal way for McLeish to experiment.
Tierney said: “We could have taken an easier game before Albania but as a player and as part of a team you want to test yourself against the best.
“You have to aspire to be the best we can be individually and collectively.
“Unfortunately, Belgium wasn’t a great night for us but we bounced back in the right manner against Albania.
“We looked a lot more threatening but I think that was understandable because Belgium are one of the top teams in the world and they have quality players all over the pitch.
“It was also our first game against Belgium in this new formation and so it was always going to be hard. You have to work at systems and formations because they don’t just happen overnight.
“It will be a gradual build-up but I think the performance against Albania shows we are taking a step in the right direction.”
Tierney says dealing with expectation with the Hoops helps him with the pressure of representing his country, with the 21-year-old adding: “I was asked before the game if Albania was a must win but I would say that just about every match you play for Scotland and Celtic is a must win.
“We were at home against Albania and we were expected to win it. There was pressure on us but we showed our character and our qualities to produce a good result.
“The way we played we showed we can defend and we also have creativity at the other end to get goals as well.”