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Georgia make the Scots pay for sloppy display

Georgia 1-0 Scotland

By Gavin McCafferty

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan felt his players were just short of the accuracy needed to break down a stubborn Georgia defence as his team fell to a European Championship qualifying defeat.

Scotland started the better side in Tbilisi but struggled to carve clear chances and the hosts improved before Valeri Kazaishvili fired them in front in the 37th minute after no blue-shirted player could close him down quickly enough as he brought down a headed knock-back 18 yards out.

Shaun Maloney nearly scored direct from a corner and Steven Fletcher (pictured) hit the post but a foul on the goalkeeper was given the first time and the offside flag went up the second time.

Scotland failed to test the home goalkeeper and a succession of crosses and corners came to nothing in the final 15 minutes.

Strachan said: "We didn't do enough to win the game. We definitely didn't do that much wrong to lose the game.

"The game looked like a draw but if you get the first goal life is a lot simpler. We had to play catch-up when we lost the goal.

"Before that, apart from one break, I didn't see any problems in the game. I felt comfortable. I was looking to get to half-time and tell them to up the tempo and think about a couple of things.

"Then they scored and put on a great defensive show."

Nukri Revishvili's only save came from a deflected Charlie Mulgrew cross but Strachan said: "We can't just throw balls in there, we are not big enough or strong enough. So you have to work our way in there.

"You only need one of those balls at somebody's feet and you've got a chance. When we do make a chance it's usually a good one because we are not a scrappy team. We have not got the presence up front to do that."

Georgia manager Kakhaber Tskhadadze, who was applauded into the media room, said: "It was important for our self-belief to win because it's teams of Scotland's quality that will be competing for places in major finals.

Rangers claim Raith Rovers' questioning of Ryan Hardie's return from Scotland Under-19 duty ahead of their clash today is "baffling".

The Ibrox club also claim their Championship rivals have "besmirched the honour" of assistant boss Davie Weir and are seeking an apology.

George: Revishvili, Lobjanidze, Kvirkvelia, Amisulashvili, Navalovski, Okriashvili (Merebashvili 71), Ananidze (Daushvili 82), Kashia, Kankava, Kazaishvili, Mchedlidze (Vatsadze 93). Subs: Loria, Khizanishvili, Tskhadadze, Kvekveskiri, Popkhadze, Kenia, Gvelesiani, Kakabadze, Makaridze.

Scotland: Marshall, Hutton, Russell Martin, Mulgrew, Robertson (Hanley 59), Anya (Griffiths 75), Brown, Maloney, Morrison, Naismith (Forrest 59), Steven Fletcher. Subs: Gordon, Ritchie, McArthur, Whittaker, Russell, Darren Fletcher, Greer, Chris Martin, McGregor.

Man of match: Valeri Kazashvili

Referee: Ovidiu Alin Hategan (Romania)

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