STUNNING STRIKE: Scotland's Leigh Griffiths celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier against England at Hampden Park.
STUNNING STRIKE: Scotland's Leigh Griffiths celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier against England at Hampden Park. Shaun Botterill

Scotland boss proud of players after draw with England

SCOTLAND manager Gordon Strachan said he was proud of his players after they were just seconds away from a historic win over the "old enemy" England in a World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park.

The Scots led 2-1 after two magnificent Leigh Griffiths free-kicks in the last three minutes of normal time followed an opening goal from England substitute Alex Oxlade Chamberlain on 70 minutes.

But with only a minute left of injury time captain Harry Kane saved England's unbeaten qualifying record with a cool finish as the game eneded 2-2.

"It was probably one of the most emotional games ever in my managerial career. As a manager that was hard work. All sorts of emotions," Strachan told reporters.

The former Scotland and Manchester United midfielder said he was impressed with the physical presence of Gareth Southgate's young England side and how his men coped with it.

"I have got to say it was like watching a heavyweight boxer versus a middleweight," Strachan said.

"These guys are giants and they are playing at a different level to most of us and they kept coming back, with their strength and power and speed it is hard to deal with.

"They keep coming back at you.

"Whatever you think about this group of players, I tell you one thing, you can't question their personality, character, commitment.

"That was beyond the call of duty and there is no one here who knows how it hard is to play against those players on a day like that."

Strachan would not criticise his players but did say there was frustration in the home dressing room.

"It is annoying for them - I can't be annoyed," he said.

"It is annoying for them to do so much and have a result that could have been one of the best results ever.

"I've also seen Scotland's best-ever free kick and then I've also seen Scotland's second-best-ever free kick. And then a noise after that, that I have never heard anything like before.

"So these memories will be with me - I will look at the players and tell them you have to keep coming back and taking knocks like that."

News Corp Australia


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