SCOTLAND boss Gordon Strachan saluted the Tartan Army after the nation’s 6-0 win over Gibraltar in their final Euro 2016 qualifier in Portugal.

Steven Fletcher, with a sparkling hat-trick, Chris Martin, Shaun Maloney and Steven Naismith scored the goals to overwhlem the minnows.

It was too late, of course, to salvage anything for the Scots as they finished in fourth place and tumbled out of the Finals to be held in France next summer.

But Strachan admitted he was amazed at the reception from the Scottish followers at the end of the meaningless encounter. He said: “We had 12,000 fans right behind us tonight and their reaction at the end was simply wonderful.

“They gave us their total backing all the way and they were singing at the end of a campaign that proved to be unsuccessful in the end. I think that was really special. Those are fans any country would want to claim as their own.

“Who would have thought this game would have turned out to be one of the most memorable in my management career? The reaction of the supporters at the end was incredible. I’ll never forget it.”

Strachan is now out of contract, but he will take his time to see if he continues in the post.

“I was down on Thursday night after the draw with Poland that meant we wouldn’t be in the Finals,” he admitted. “But this is different. Those fans can really raise your spirits.

“Listen, I’ll talk to a few people, but everyone knows I am proud to be the Scotland manager. It means a lot to my family, too.

“At the moment, we’ll just have to wait and see. However, there is a spirit among this squad that is just great. The players have been great to work with and it’s just a pity we didn’t get through.”

Germany beat Georgia 2-1 to top Group D and they will be joined in the Finals with Poland who overcame Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland 2-1 in Warsaw. It was that man Robert Lewandowski, two-goal hammer of the Scots at Hampden, who got the winner with a flying header in the first-half.

The Irish will now go into the play-offs and will learn their opponents when the draw is made on Sunday.


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