Scotland still on up after Qatar win, says Steven Naismith

Steven Naismith shows the cuts he suffered against Qatar
Steven Naismith suffered a couple of cuts against Qatar

Steven Naismith thinks the narrow victory over Qatar shows that Scotland remain a team "on the up".

A first international goal from Bournemouth winger Matt Ritchie was all that separated the Scots from the team ranked 97th in the world.

Striker Naismith told BBC Scotland: "It wasn't the greatest performance by us, but the main thing is the result.

"It was one that was needed to get back into the swing of things for a few of the boys after having a rest."

Manager Gordon Strachan used the game at Easter Road to give match practice to players whose domestic seasons had finished almost a month ago.

Naismith viewed it as a useful exercise in preparation for Saturday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

"Now we can fully focus on that and we had a few tough days of training, which have helped us, and all that stands us in good stead," he said.

Matt Ritchie celebrates his goal against Qatar
Matt Ritchie scored his first Scotland goal against Qatar

"We've got competition for places and everybody needs to be at their best to be in the team.

"We're confident enough. Getting a result over in Ireland would be a fantastic achievement and one that will put us in a great position going into the rest of the campaign."

There was a scare for Naismith when he needed several minutes of treatment after colliding with Qatar goalkeeper Amine Lecomte Addani.

A couple of nasty gashes on his chest and throat will not be enough to rule the striker out against the Irish and he said: "It is part and parcel of the game.

"It probably was a penalty, but we didn't get it,

"I probably should have scored - I had four or five chances, the goalie made a couple of good saves.

"After having a wee break, I'm glad to be able to take the chances rather than not have any."

Scorer Ritchie revealed that his Scotland call-up had meant a shortened honeymoon after getting married in France last weekend.

"I got married on Saturday and this tops the week off," he said of his first goal on his third international appearance.

Ali Asadalla Thaimn challenges Scott Brown
Scott Brown (right) captained Scotland against Qatar at Easter Road

"We will be on honeymoon in Edinburgh as we have a couple of days off and we are going to stay here and hopefully have a good weekend.

"It has been a great week and a great year. Scoring for my country is a great honour."

Celtic utility man Charlie Mulgrew returned to the Scotland team in central defence after long-term injury and declared himself ready to start in Dublin.

"You saw against Qatar everybody fighting for their place so I'm desperate to be involved next week," he said.

"There is a lot we could have done better, we know that as a squad, but it is a positive result for us."

Captain Scott Brown was pleased with the performance in Edinburgh.

"Everybody says it should be 4-0 or 5-0, but it is never as easy as that and Qatar showed against Northern Ireland that they try to play good football," he said.

"Ireland are a great team and we saw what they are all about when they made it hard for us at Celtic Park, but we got the result we were looking for and hopefully we can do that again."

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