Strachan happy with Poland point

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Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Scotland manager Gordon Strachan hailed his team for playing a full part in a thrilling 2-2 draw with a Poland side fresh from victory over the world champions.

Strachan was delighted with the way his side fought back from an early blow and then withstood some late pressure in a game packed with chances.

They fell behind in the 11th minute when Krzysztof Maczynski fired home following a mistake by Alan Hutton and the Poles looked set to build on the momentum of their historic triumph over Germany.

But Shaun Maloney finished off an excellent move seven minutes later and Scotland took a second-half lead when Steven Naismith flicked home James Morrison’s long free-kick.

However, Scotland were ultimately grateful for the final whistle after surviving a late barrage after Arkadiusz Milik levelled with 14 minutes left.

Strachan said: “What a terrific game of football – a terrific stadium, terrific fans, from both sides. The atmosphere was great.

“It had everything – terrific goals, mistakes, good saves, I think everyone got value for money.

“We definitely enjoyed playing in the game and I hope they would say they enjoyed playing in the game as well.

“We said before the game that a point would be fine because we’re playing against a Poland side that’s just beaten Germany.

“But as you saw from our team, they said: ‘We want three points’. To go a goal behind and still keep playing was good.

“It wasn’t an easy surface – we didn’t realise it was so heavy. We had the smaller players out there and they were bigger physically, and you could tell at times. But the small players kept at it and did well with and without the ball.”

Kamil Grosicki hit the post as Poland bombarded the visiting goal after their equaliser.

“They were throwing everything at us,” Strachan said. “It was like and old-fashioned game – putting everything into the box and hitting diagonals.

“But we dealt with it well because they’re a real, real physical side.”

Strachan had made two changes to his defence with Gordon Greer replacing the injured Grant Hanley and Steven Whittaker coming in for Andrew Robertson at left-back.

“Gordon Greer was fantastic,” he said. “He looks nothing like a footballer. He looks like a rock star who has turned up at a testimonial game, but he was absolutely fantastic.

“Steven Whittaker – you just put him in and know what you’re going to get. If you picked 10 Steven Whittakers, sleep would be easier the night before a game.”

Poland head coach Adam Nawalka was also satisfied with his night’s work after his side stayed top of Group D following the Republic of Ireland’s last-gasp equaliser in Germany.

“We’re very happy with the point,” Nawalka said. “When you consider we were losing and came back to level then I’m really happy with my players because they played very well, especially in the last 30 minutes.”

Nawalka did have one complaint though after feeling his captain, Robert Lewandowski, had been affected by a first-half challenge.

“I was very surprised by the very aggressive tackle by the Scottish player on Lewandowski because he wasn’t able to play the next 60 minutes very well,” he said.

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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