Alex McLeish praises '˜inexperienced' Scotland side in Peru defeat

Alex McLeish believes an inexperienced Scotland side gave a good account of themselves in this morning's 2-0 defeat to Peru but were simply undone by a better team.

Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 8:47 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 8:51 am
Lewis Stevenson, one of seven debutants, vies for the ball with Peru's Luis Advincula. Picture: Ernesto Benavides/AFP/Getty Images

He partly absolved Jordan Archer of blame after the debutant keeper – one of seven new players blooded by McLeish, including Hibs pair Lewis Stevenson and Dylan McGeouch – looked suspect at both goals.

The 25-year-old Millwall player collided with skipper Charlie Mulgrew en route to Peru gaining the penalty that saw them take the lead after 37 minutes through Christian Cueva. Jefferson Farfan’s goal shortly after half-time also looked to go through Archer but defenders were also culpable in the run-up to the strike from near the edge of the six-yard box.

“Peru are at at better level than us, we have to be honest on that,” said McLeish. “But I don’t think that’s a secret and I believe that the Peruvian team and management felt they could beat Scotland easily. Maybe we have to do other things to try to get some kind of result but overall the organisation of the team was good, the players concentrated.

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Alex McLeish partly absolved Jordan Archer of blame after the debutant keeper looked suspect at both goals. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

“Some players haven’t played at this level before but I do see a very good level in the Peru team. They have improved from the beginning of the coach’s time.

“I think our goalkeeper felt that maybe he could have stayed at the first goal but I wouldn’t blame him for the second goal, it was a point-blank shot from Farfan, very close to the goal,” McLeish added. “Maybe our defenders could have done better.

“We believe the first goal was a big setback. We do have a lot of new players tonight. A lot of players came in from the Scottish league, which is not recognised as a good league. But I was very proud of them tonight.”

Seven of the starting XI were Scottish based players. McLeish also praised the contribution of Manchester United’s Scott McTominay. The 21-year-old earned his second Scotland cap in the centre of midfield and looked one of the few able to hold their own against the classy Peruvians.

“McTominay of Manchester United is still a young boy, he doesn’t have all the answers, but he is learning very quickly and he has had a meteoric rise this season into the Manchester United team and into international football,” said McLeish. “He will learn with every day he plays football. He will learn and I’m sure he will become better.

“If I had Jefferson Farfan in my team then maybe we would be a bit different. It’s about having types of player.

“In South America there is only one way of playing and in most of the European countries there is only one way of playing, they bring up their kids to play football on the ground. The British game has a reputation for playing higher balls sometimes. At the moment we are where we are in the Scottish national team.

“We have some players growing and some new players coming in to the team and it takes time. Patience has to be the key. We have games now against Mexico in Mexico City and also we have friendlies before we play in the Euros. I would like to think we will be in a much stronger situation when that comes around.”