Scotland boss Steve Clarke insists his side deserve more respect after a huge World Cup qualifier win in Austria.
A 1-0 victory leap-frogged the Scots into second spot in Group F in the race to qualify for Qatar next year.
Lyndon Dykes’ first half penalty fired the Scots into pole-position for a play-off spot in March.
Clarke came out fighting in defence of his team and hit out at critics who labelled the Scots a long ball side.
He said: “I think we deserve a bit more respect.
“We are not a long ball team as some people try to label us- we can play.
“I have a fantastic group of players.
“If we have to go long we can play and fight for it, if we have to get it down and make the passes we can do that.
“My players all want to be successful for their country and they showed that tonight.
“We put on a good footballing performance.
“When we got the ball down we passed it well.”
Winning end to a difficult week
Scotland leap-frogged into second spot in Group F after Israel were humbled 5-0 by leaders Denmark.
Clarke’s side are now one point ahead of Israel and four in front of Austria.
He said: “It has been the most difficult week, really difficult.
“We went to Denmark (2-0 loss) which is a tough place to go to start with.
“But we had a lot of injuries and a lot of problems.
— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) September 7, 2021
“We went 2-0 down early in the game but dug in.
“We were criticised for saying that actually, that we dug in.
“Yet Israel went there tonight and lost 5-0.
“After that we knew we had to get something out of the next two games – and we came away with six points.
“I am really pleased for the players.”
Israel at Hampden will be like a cup final
Scotland now face Israel at Hampden on October 9 in a game where the Scots can take a major step towards the play-offs.
Clarke insists the Scots must treat it like a cup final – and is confident the best has yet to come from his side.
He said: “It was an important night for us to get something from the game.
“It just means that the next game is a cup final.
“We will give it everything we can.
“This group of players want to be successful and have shown that consistently over the last two years I have been with the group.
“We have come a long way and I think we can get better, and that we will get better.
“Tonight was another step on that road.”
Another cap for Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson
Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson was introduced as a late substitute to earn his second cap.
The 22-year-old secured a debut cap in the 2-0 loss to Denmark in Copenhagen last week.
Austria are the second seeds in Group F and had reached the last 16 of the Euro 2020 finals in the summer.
Scotland had to fight back from behind to salvage a draw at Hampden against the Austrians earlier this year.
On securing a win in Vienna that boosted World Cup qualification hopes Clarke praised every player.
He said: “They were all outstanding.
“The substitutes coming off the bench. Paul McGinn of Hibs, Lewis Ferguson of Aberdeen, Kevin Nisbet of Hibs.
“There was a good sprinkling of players from the Premiership as well as all the mainstays and the big names.
“That pleases me immensely.”
Late heroics from veteran keeper
Veteran keeper Craig Gordon made a vital late save to secure the three points.
Clarke said: “The amount of times they got it in the box eventually they were going to get a contact on it.
“Then you need our keeper.
“That is why Craig Gordon is still playing at 38. Top keeper and made the big save when we needed it.
“Everybody played their part.”