Scotland 1 - 0 Estonia

Match info: International at Pittodrie Stadium

Date: 06/02/2013 KO: 19:45 Ref: Clement Turpin Att: 16,102

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers


Charlie Mulgrew 39



FT (ht: 1-0)

  • Last Updated: February 6 2013, 23:11 GMT

Gordon Strachan admitted his Scotland managerial debut had sparked feelings he had never experienced in his career after leading his country to a 1-0 friendly win over Estonia.

Strachan stunned by experience

Strachan was "blown away" by nerves and excitement in the run-up to the game, which Scotland won thanks to Charlie Mulgrew's 38th-minute goal.

Strachan was back at Pittodrie, where he helped Aberdeen to many memorable victories as a player including a famous comeback against Bayern Munich that helped the Dons on their way to the 1983 European Cup Winners' Cup.

As a manager, Strachan has experienced cup finals on both sides of the border but he admitted nothing could have prepared him for managing his country.

The former Southampton and Celtic boss said: "I'm glad it's all over because in 40 years of football that is probably the most excited and nervous I have been before a game in my life.

"I didn't know how I would feel when I first took charge of the team. Now I know. It was an incredible experience.

"I don't think I expected that. I thought I had done nearly everything in the game, played everywhere, and it kind of blew me away really.

"I've been in the Champions League, I have had to beat AC Milan, Barcelona, Man United, and it wasn't like that."

The former Manchester United and Leeds midfielder admitted he had trouble sleeping the night before the game.

He added: "I think it's when you're on your own at times, when you wake up in the morning and you go 'bang, here we go'. It's okay when you get here.

"I don't know what it was, but it was a bit different."

Strachan employed a 4-2-3-1 formation in the first half with Steven Naismith, Shaun Maloney and Chris Burke, making his first Scotland appearance since 2006, tasked with providing the service to lone striker Steven Fletcher.

Scotland led at half-time after Mulgrew swept home Charlie Adam's free-kick following a training-ground move and Strachan moved to a 4-4-2 after the break when Jordan Rhodes came on.

The worsening Pittodrie pitch and a number of substitutions disrupted the flow of the game but Strachan was encouraged by the performance after telling his players to take opponents on and run off their markers.

"There were things we wanted to do and to a certain extent we did it," he said.

"We wanted to get players playing between lines, being brave enough to put it in there. Sometimes we were brave enough, and then when we got between lines, we had to go and eliminate people.

"We did that at certain times, we got free-kicks, and I asked players to take people on.

"But there's a point where if you can't go through there, the players have got to go somewhere else and change it. Once we get to do that properly then we will be fine."

Strachan, whose competitive career begins with a World Cup double header against Wales and Serbia next month, added: "I liked some individual performances, the two midfield players that went on in the second half (James McArthur and James Morrison) were terrific. Burke, terrific. (Robert) Snodgrass had a hard act to follow, he comes on and does well. That's what I wanted, people to take people on. We got that.

"The two centre-halves (Andy Webster and Christophe Berra) had to put up with a lot coming at them, nothing too dangerous, but they dealt with it nice and tidy. Because even then to pass it at the back wasn't easy.

"There are combinations that I thought 'that's good', combinations that we need to work on, and combinations that I thought 'nah, that's not so great'. "It was good your first game is a friendly and you can have a look at a couple of things."

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