Strachan staying is massive positive for Scotland – Paterson

Callum Paterson, pictured in training ahead of Monday's match at Hamilton, has backed Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, below

Callum Paterson, pictured in training ahead of Monday's match at Hamilton, has backed Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, below

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Callum Paterson insists Scotland players view Gordon Strachan’s decision to stay as manager as a “massive positive”.

The Hearts defender stressed that the squad are fully behind the national coach and share his belief that they can still qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Gordon Strachan has shown a lot of faith in Paterson

Gordon Strachan has shown a lot of faith in Paterson

Public pressure has increased since Scotland slipped to fifth place in qualifying Group F with a 3-0 defeat by England at Wembley last week.

However, the Scottish FA board agreed unanimously that the 59-year-old should remain in charge.

Paterson told the Evening News today that the squad are perfectly content with that decision. “The squad is happy, it’s a massive positive for us,” said the full-back. “He’s been a great manager for me so far and he’s given me a lot of opportunities. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting the opportunity to work with him again.

“We’re sitting fifth but we’re only four points off second place. A win and a draw and we’re right in there where we need to be. We have to be positive and try to qualify. There is belief there.

“We scored a few goals at the start but there’s maybe been a lack of goals recently. The goals will come and, as long as we score goals, we’ll win games.”

Paterson admitted he will always owe Strachan a debt of gratitude for promoting him to the senior Scotland squad. A regular at under-21 level, he first joined the full team in November 2014 but didn’t win his first cap until the friendly against Italy in May this year.

“I’ve always got to be grateful to him for giving me such a massive opportunity when I was a bit younger. He’s a great coach for me,” explained the player. “Playing with the personnel in there, being involved with the training alongside all the other pros has been a massive help to me. It’s been great experience watching and learning from them.”

Paterson admitted being disappointed at Wembley when Ikechi Anya started the match ahead of him at right-back. The Hearts player played only the final 11 minutes as a substitute.

“The experience was great down there,” he said. “Just being away with the squad is a great achievement. To go in there and play in a massive stadium against such a big team was really enjoyable for me. I was disappointed not to start but it’s one of those things I have to learn from. I thought I did that and came on and did my job.”