Belfast Telegraph

Scots showed real belief to net deserved winner, says McLeish

Hungary 0 Scotland 1

By Gavin McCafferty

Matt Phillips kick-started Alex McLeish's second Scotland reign as his first international goal sealed a 1-0 friendly victory over Hungary.

The West Brom winger converted wing-back Ryan Fraser's low cross in the 48th minute as he grew into his centre-forward role. Skipper Charlie Mulgrew earlier had a penalty saved as Scotland produced an encouraging performance in Budapest.

"I was disappointed on Friday, I hate to lose but I have got to say, they continued where they left off," said McLeish.

"The tempo was tremendous, we had players really confident and using the ball.

"We had some great performances, every player to a man.

"You could say it wasn't going to happen for us when we missed the penalty but we were in control of our emotions and they came back. It's massive."

Celtic centre-back Jack Hendry made an assured debut after replacing the injured Grant Hanley in a three-man defence following Friday's 1-0 Hampden defeat by Costa Rica.

Scotland boss McLeish otherwise selected a more experienced line-up as he made seven changes. Fraser came in along with midfielders Stuart Armstrong, John McGinn and Callum McGregor, while James Forrest supported Phillips up front as the West Brom player was recalled for an 11th cap.

Scotland started at a good tempo but slack play from their own throw-in allowed Balazs Dzsudzsak the first shot at goal. McGregor got down to save.

Scotland took some time to settle into a rhythm on a bumpy surface at the Groupama Arena, home of Ferencvaros, and McGregor made a good stop from a Dzsudzsak free-kick 20 minutes in.

Scotland's central midfield trio began to get on top of proceedings as Hungary, fresh from a home defeat by Kazakhstan, sat deep.

Forrest had a weak effort saved after robbing a defender and McGinn had a strike blocked after clever play from McGregor.

The visitors were gifted a chance to go ahead in the 40th minute following a clumsy challenge on Fraser by Laszlo Kleinheisler, but Peter Gulacsi threw himself to his left to push away Mulgrew's firmly-hit spot-kick.

Forrest soon had a chance from Scott McKenna's cross but could not get hold of his first-time effort and the goalkeeper made a more comfortable save.

The penalty save had fired up the hosts though and Scotland needed Andy Robertson to be in the right place to stop Richard Guzmics' header going inside the far post following a corner seconds before half-time.

Scotland took the lead inside three minutes of the restart when Phillips met Fraser's cross and fired home first time from eight yards.

Scotland remained on top but had a warning on the hour mark when Roland Vargad looped a long-range strike which McGregor tipped over.

Fraser set up Phillips again on the break but the forward lacked conviction.

Scotland survived a scare with 20 minutes left when Mulgrew gifted possession to striker Adam Szalai, McGregor coming to his captain's aid by coming out to block well one on one.

Wolves full-back Barry Douglas came off the bench for his debut along with Aberdeen pair Kenny McLean and Ryan Christie, Cardiff's Callum Paterson and strikers Oli McBurnie and Jason Cummings.

But Scotland kept their shape and saw out the victory relatively comfortably.

HUNGARY: Gulacsi, Fiola , Otigba, Guzmics, Lovrencsics, Pinter (Elek, 46 mins), Kleinheisler (Patkai, 67mins), Hangya (Szabo, 46 mins), Varga (Nikolic, 83 mins), Szalai (Bode, 77 mins), Dzsudzsak (Nemeth, 58 mins). Unused subs: Lang, Nagy, Ugrai, Dibusz, Stieber, Eppel, Bese, Kovacsik Botka,

SCOTLAND: McGregor, Hendry, Mulgrew, McKenna, Fraser (Paterson, 82 mins), McGinn, Armstrong (McLean, 70 mins), Robertson (Douglas, 70 mins), Forrest (Christie, 77 mins), McGregor (Cummings, 93 mins), Phillips (McBurnie, 84 mins). Unused subs: Archer, McDonald, Murphy, McLaughlin,Cairney

Referee: Harald Lechner (Austria)

Man of the match: Matt Phillips

Match rating: 7/10

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