Scotland's Shaun Maloney accepts Tartan Army criticism

Scotland's Shaun Maloney

Shaun Maloney admits the Scotland players can have no complaints about being booed by fans as the World Cup campaign got off to a stuttering start.

The Tartan Army were quick to vent their anger as Scotland fell behind to an early Macedonia goal on Tuesday.

And, though they recovered to equalise, fans continued to voice discontent at the performance and tactics.

"I think when we draw our first two games, there's going to be criticism," Maloney told BBC Scotland.

"All the players and staff were in it for the results and then, when they don't come, we have to take the criticism. It's one of the things you need to deal with.

"Especially after the weekend and the negative feedback after the game, when the boos come I don't think we can argue too much about it."

While the players' inability to match their opponents' swift passing and creation of clear-cut opportunities clearly rankled with the Hampden crowd, much of their ire appeared to be directed at Craig Levein.

But Maloney, asked if the players had faith in Levein's ability to ensure performances improved, said it was the manager who had to have faith in the players.

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Interview - Scotland forward Shaun Maloney

"I can only speak for myself - actually I'm pretty sure the majority of the team - we ran as much as possible for the manager," he added.

"I think we do put our heart and soul into it for him and hopefully we will pick up as a team and the results will come. They need to, obviously, if we're going to qualify."

Maloney, like Levein, believes that is still possible, but conceded: "They (qualification hopes) are not at an end, but we've made it very hard for ourselves.

"It's certainly not impossible but it's going to be an uphill task."

Follow Alasdair Lamont on Twitter.

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