Belfast Telegraph

Scotland's Martin not worried by boo-boys after lifting gloom with late strike

Scotland 1-0 Slovenia

By Ronnie Esplin

Scotland match-winner Chris Martin declared himself unconcerned by his critics after scoring a crucial goal to earn his side a late 1-0 victory over Slovenia.

Martin received a negative reaction from sections of the Hampden Park crowd when he was introduced as a substitute in the World Cup qualifying Group F clash but, less than six minutes after coming on, he grabbed an 88th-minute winner.

The win gave Scotland’s ailing hopes of reaching Russia 2018 a much-needed boost.

Martin said: “It was amazing, that’s all I was focused on.

“The manager sent me on to find the goal and luckily I came up with one tonight.”

Martin said he did not notice the boos on his introduction, adding: “I’m absolutely delighted I had the support of everyone in the dressing room and the manager behind me.

“I’m not too concerned about that, I need to focus on my job.”

Scotland’s man-of-the-match was debutant Stuart Armstrong, who set up Martin’s winner, and the Celtic man felt Gordon Strachan’s men deserved their last-gasp success.

“We created a lot of chances first half and we didn’t take one,” he said.

“We thought maybe it’s not going to be our day, but luckily Chris comes up with a piece of magic.

“It was a good win. We started really well and created a lot of chances, and maybe should have taken one or two of them.

“But we got what we deserved in the end.

“I just tried to carry on what I have been doing with Celtic. This puts us in a good position now.

“It was a must-win game, we have done that and it is on to the next one [against England at Hampden on June 10].

“We have to approach every game with optimism, believing we can get three points.”

Strachan was a relieved man after his side grabbed a precious three points.

“I am very proud, I am delighted for all the players,” he said.

“I thought they were magnificent, considering the pressure they were under.

“They should be really proud of themselves.

“Chris Martin gets a good reception from the players and the staff.

“That is why we pick him. He is in great company. Kenny Dalglish was booed, so was Gary McAllister, so was Alan Hansen. He must be some player.

“We have got ourselves back in contention and we look forward to the next game now.

“We can take a lot of things from tonight.

“These players played extremely well and I think Stuart Armstrong’s could be the best Scottish debut I have ever seen.”

Belfast Telegraph


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