Belfast Telegraph

Qualification still a possibility for Scots: Strachan

Slovakia 3 Scotland 0

By Robert Jones

Gordon Strachan still believes Scotland can finish second in their 2018 World Cup qualifying group despite losing 3-0 in Slovakia. The Scots had dropped two points in the 1-1 draw with Lithuania at Hampden Park on Saturday, but had started confidently in Trnava.

However, it all went wrong for the visitors after Robert Mak opened the scoring in the 18th minute, although Scotland striker Steven Fletcher had been clearly fouled at the other end seconds earlier. A second from Mak after the break, followed by an Adam Nemec header, left the visitors well beaten and with only four points from nine.

Scotland dropped to fourth place in Group F with a trip to face leaders England, who moved on to seven points following a 0-0 draw in Slovenia, at Wembley next month.

Asked if finishing second was realistic, Strachan said: "Yes. Your form can change. It's a long period, it is over a year.

"It is amazing how form can change in two weeks.

"It is amazing how you can go from not doing so well at things you are talking about (scoring and defending) to doing very well a couple of weeks later.

"Form can change, players can come through, things can happen for you, there is no doubt about that."

  •  Former Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce, who quit Hull City in the summer, is poised to be named Aston Villa's new manager today.

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