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McLeish calls on Scotland to hit their stride as pressure mounts

Scotland 1 Portugal 3


Bounce back: Scotland boss McLeish says resilience is key

Bounce back: Scotland boss McLeish says resilience is key


Bounce back: Scotland boss McLeish says resilience is key

Alex McLeish insists he will turn it around for Scotland in two "cup finals" next month despite ending a difficult week with a 3-1 defeat by Portugal at Hampden Park.

The Scotland boss came in for widespread criticism after his team lost 2-1 to Israel in the Nations League on Thursday night and a much-changed Scots side were beaten in a low-key friendly by the 2016 European Championship winners, who were far from their strongest.

Debutant Helder Costa scored for the visitors just before the break and further goals in the second half from Eder and Bruma put Portugal in easy street before Steven Naismith grabbed a late consolation.

McLeish has won twice and lost six since returning to the Hampden hot seat in February but, ahead of the final Nations League Group C1 games against Albania away and Israel at home, he is confident of sealing top spot and a guaranteed Euro 2020 play-off.

"For years, every time you lose a game you know there is going to be criticism, you have to take it on the chin and bounce back up," he said.

"It's about resilience. I've had a few knocks in the past and also a lot of success. It's never easy to lose and of course that was a tough weekend but I have to stand up and be brave and take that and take it forward.

"There are other examples of managers being under the cosh in recent times, Michael O'Neill and Stanislav Cherchesov in the Russian camp, and they persevered and came through it. I'll always retain that determination.

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"We'll do everything we can to qualify.

"We're in that group with Israel and Albania for a reason. It's because of the rankings. I will look at them as cup finals. We want to win the two of them. We look for everyone to be on their 'A' game for those two games."

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