Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan can expect to find himself back in future Scotland squads after manager Gordon Strachan praised the second half performance of his side in victory over the Czech Republic.
Bannan came off the bench to replace Hull City’s Andrew Robertson at around the hour mark, and his appearance as a substitute corresponded with Scotland’s best period in the game, as they kept possession of the ball better, in holding onto a lead given to them in the ninth minute by Watford’s Ikechi Anya.
“We had a slow start in the first half when the Czech Republic played very well. We allowed them to play,” said Strachan.
“The group is quite new working together and they took things we’d been working on in training literally by getting into nice positions defensively instead of going and closing people down. But once we sorted that out in the second half and passed the ball a bit better then it became a different game.
“It wasn’t a change tactically. We played the same way but we closed down better and passed better, so if anybody says it was a tactical move, it wasn’t.
“It was just the players. It was a great learning experience from the first half to the second. Small things can change a game.”
While Strachan wouldn’t single out anyone in particular for praise, the former Celtic and Middlesbrough manager reiterated how impressed he was by those on the pitch for the second period.
“As I keep saying, the whole squad did themselves favours,” he added. “We improved dramatically in the second half. I don’t think anyone needs to worry about their performance, especially in the second half.”
Bannan’s Wednesday team mate Daniel Pudil had been given an opportunity to stake his claim for a place in the Czech Republic squad bound for France in the summer.
The full back had to settle for a 12 minute run out and almost equalised, only to be denied by keeper Allan McGregor who was the Scots’ man of the match.