Tuesday, September 7, 2010

McManus praises Scots' character

Victory all important - McManus

Stephen McManus insists Scotland's last-gasp victory over Liechtenstein was down to character rather than luck.

The former Celtic captain netted the winner seven minutes into injury time at Hampden to save Scotland's blushes.

The victory takes Scotland to the top of Group I, one point ahead of Spain who have one match in hand.

"It wasn't luck - you just need to keep going," said McManus. "If you score in the last minute it's lucky, if you score in the first it's good play,"

Scotland manager Craig Levein had fielded an attack-minded side, but the hosts looked set to suffer one of their worst ever results after fighting back from Mario Frick's shock opener to level through Kenny Miller.

However, McManus steered their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign back on track with a dramatic late goal.

It wasn't a classic to play in and we didn't play at the highest tempo, but the most important thing is that we won the game

Stephen McManus

"It doesn't matter when you score, as long as you get the goals. I think it was definitely down to character rather than luck," said the former Celtic captain.

McManus also netted against Lithuania at Hampden three years ago and claims this result was more important than personal glory.

"I've managed to score a couple of goals and it was just nice to win the game," said the Middlesbrough defender. "It wasn't a classic to play in and we didn't play at the highest tempo.

"But the most important thing is that we won the game.

"You would love to score early goals but you just need to keep going and that's what we did."

Despite the last-gasp winner, McManus admitted Scotland struggled to cope with the determination of the visitors and insisted Levein's side have a long way to go, despite topping Group I.

McManus added: "They kept their shape, they kept their discipline, which a lot of internationals teams do. It was up to us to break them down and we struggled at times to break them down.

"We are only two games in. You can't win the group after two games but you can certainly be out of it. Fortunately for us, we are on four points.

"You enjoy nights like this, representing your country. There are enough folk sticking the knife in and having a go at us.

"We've not played well at all tonight but we've won the game and you need to look at the positives."

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