UNDER-PRESSURE Gordon Strachan is still backing Scotland to achieve a play-off place in their bid to reach the World Cup Finals in Russia in 2018.
The international boss saw his side throw away five precious points in two dire displays during the 1-1 draw with Lithuania at Hampden on Saturday and the humbling 3-0 nosedive in Slovakia in Trnava last night.
Strachan now has to put the shattered jigsaw back together again as he prepares for the game against England at Wembley on Friday, November 11.
In the aftermath of an appalling performance against the Slovaks, who hadn’t scored a solitary goal in their previous four games, the former Celtic manager was asked if second place in Group F was still a realistic target. He answered: “Yes, I do.”
With the Scots only three points behind Gareth Southgate’s leaders, Strachan continued: “Every time I get together with the players they rejuvenate me.
“I repeat, at the moment we have given it our best shot, tried to pick the right side.
“I can’t get any more in terms of effort, I am happy with the response every time we get together.
“I’m not sitting here thinking about myself. I’m thinking about these lads and how we look after the players, how in the future we give the supporters something to sing about away from home.”
Strachan included four Hoops stars in his squad for the double-header – Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths.
However, only left-back Tierney started a game, last night’s flop. Griffiths, with 40 goals last season and eight already in this campaign, came on as a second-half substitute in both ties, while Forrest appeared at Hampden and Gordon sat out the games with ex-Celt David Marshall entrusted with the No.1 spot.
Strachan added: “The second goal made a big difference and it was uphill after that.”