They did Scotland proud: McLeish looks to future after narrow loss to Mexico
He praised his players’ professionalism.
Scotland boss Alex McLeish praised his players’ professionalism after they concluded their mini-tour of the Americas with a narrow 1-0 defeat to World Cup-bound Mexico at the Azteca stadium.
Seven players from his makeshift and inexperienced squad had made their debuts in the 2-0 loss to Peru in Lima on Tuesday night, and two more new faces – keepers Jon McLaughlin and his interval replacement Scott Bain – did so against the Mexicans who won through a first-half goal from Giovani Dos Santos.
The home side had several chances to increase their lead and struck woodwork twice, albeit the spirited Scots improved markedly after the break and might have sneaked a draw had Oli McBurnie’s header not smacked the post.
“The trip has been great,” said McLeish. “The players have been very professional.
“Normally they would be on their holidays. We would love to be going to the World Cup the same as Mexico.
“But we have played a couple of games that can help us build for the future.
Our next fixtures are:— Scottish FA (@ScottishFA) June 3, 2018
➡️ Belgium (h) Fri 7 Sep
➡️ Albania (h) Mon 10 Sep
➡️ Israel (a) Thu 11 Oct
➡️ Portugal (h) Sun 14 Oct
➡️ Albania (a) Sat 17 Nov
➡️ Israel (h) Tue 20 Nov
“It was a very tough game for us at altitude and in these conditions. I think the players that we had out there did the country proud.
“We are trying to get better on the technical side and we have asked the players to look at their game and be brave, to make passes and receive passes.
“It’s a big part of the plan going forward.”
McLeish did reveal an element of frustration with the attacking side of Scotland’s game.
He said: “We looked to be more of a threat, to get players forward in the box.
“I felt that we never had the best of deliveries. When we got into wide areas, we hit the first man a lot when we had good presence in the box.
“You saw when we got a good cross in the second half, McBurnie had a good header, he was unlucky he hit the post. In the first-half, we had crosses potentially for the strength of Callum Paterson but we didn’t quite succeed.
“Both teams made changes, that can upset the rhythm of the game, but both teams did what they could to impress the fans and the coaches.”