Craig Levein: Serbia point might take us to Rio

Scotland manager Craig Levein. Picture: SNS

Scotland manager Craig Levein. Picture: SNS

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Craig Levein has hit back at the “hysterical reaction” following Scotland’s draw against Serbia in the opening game of the World Cup qualifying campaign, insisting the point won could be the one which takes his squad to Rio.

Levein urged everyone, fans and Scottish press alike to throw their full support behind his squad, starting with tonight’s second qualifying match against Macedonia in Glasgow.

He said: “What has been difficult has been the hysterical reaction to the game on Saturday. For players to play to their best they need confidence. Confidence comes from results but also knowing people are backing you and supporting you.”

The Scotland coach confessed to being “quite annoyed” at how the Hampden stalemate – one which was greeted by boos from the Tartan Army on the final whistle – was portrayed, again adamant judgments should be made after all ten games have been played rather than one.

“There were 30 points to play for, we got one. There are still 27 points to play for, a lot of points to get and for me it’s all about the long game. It’s all about picking up points.

“There’s a hell of a long way to go, it’s more about what 
happens at the end of it than happens just now.”

Levein admitted he was as frustrated and disappointed as any fan at the outcome of Saturday’s match but insisted his team had played well enough.

He said: “There’s a huge build-up to games and there is a level of frustration. If we win that game 1-0 it is a different story altogether.

“I was reasonably happy with the performance we put on. But I can understand people being frustrated.”