Hearts star Andy Webster today admitted he’d been “as surprised as anyone” to have the captain’s armband thrust into his hand as Gordon Strachan celebrated his first match as Scotland manager with a win against Estonia.
Although the departure of Scott Brown, chosen by Strachan as his first captain, just after the hour mark at Pittodrie was pre-determined, Webster revealed he’d no idea who’d be taking over as skipper until the midfielder presented him with the armband. Claiming it was probably because he was closest to the Celtic ace as he prepared to make way for James Morrison, the Tynecastle defender said of his first taste of captaining his country: “Obviously I was delighted but the win was more important.
“I didn’t know I was going to get it, it never crossed my mind as we have a team full of quality, there’s a lot of experience and it was whoever gets it gets it sort of thing. I don’t want to make a big deal of it as it doesn’t alter the way you conduct yourself on the pitch. Scott just came over to me and said ‘here you go,’ I was probably just the closest one to him.”
Webster insisted getting off to a winning start with Strachan at the helm was important, Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew claiming the game’s only goal before half-time, with all eyes now on the next World Cup qualifier, at home to Wales towards the end of next month. He said: “We were pleased to get the right result and a clean sheet, job done and we are happy. Every time you come away with Scotland you are desperate to play, it’s an opportunity to show what you are all about for everyone and I thought all the boys acquitted themselves extremely well in difficult conditions.
“You want to win football matches, it builds momentum and confidence and we can take that into the games coming up. In theory, it was a friendly but you don’t go up to Pittodrie thinking it’s just a friendly. It’s important getting together under the new manager.
“All new managers and coaches bring new ideas so you are looking to learn from them and pick up whatever you can as you go along. The manager implemented a few things going into the game so winning can build a bit of momentum going into the next qualifiers which are going to be tough.”
Although hopes of qualifying for next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil appear to have already been dashed thanks to a disappointing start to the campaign which saw only two points taken from the opening four games under Strachan’s predecessor, Craig Levein, Webster insisted he and his team-mates will adopt a “game at a time” approach.
He said: “Generally in football you don’t look too far ahead. The old cliches get wheeled out and from the first part of qualifying we have seen how things can turn against you. It’s a step-by-step thing. We’ll look at the next game, look to do well and to win it.”