Scotland 'so close to right results', says Hearts' Andy Webster

Webster talks to the media at Hearts' media conference
Webster talks to the media at Hearts' media conference

Andy Webster believes Scotland were desperately close to getting the results that would have taken the pressure off coach Craig Levein.

Hearts defender Webster was an unused substitute in away defeats by Wales and Belgium that left the Scots bottom of World Cup qualifying Group A.

"The two home games, on a different day, we probably could and should have won both games," he said.

"We had opportunities to score goals in both of them."

Those two draws with Serbia and Macedonia put pressure on the Scots to claim a victory on their travels.

And Webster thought they were unlucky not to achieve that, especially after Steven Fletcher had a goal controversially chopped off in Cardiff.

"Going down to Wales on the Friday, the squad as a whole were very optimistic about winning that match," he said.

"From a results point of view, disappointing, especially on the Friday night. People have seen the replays of the goal that never was and, if you get 2-0 up, the game is finished in my opinion.

"We knew going to Belgium was going to be extremely difficult, but the boys gave a good account of themselves."

Many in the media and among the Tartan Army have called for Levein to be sacked.

Levein looks under pressure after the 2-0 defeat by Belgium on Tuesday
Levein looks under pressure after the 2-0 defeat by Belgium on Tuesday

However, Scotland captain Darren Fletcher, defenders Christophe Berra and Russell Martin, goalkeepers Allan McGregor and Craig Gordon, plus midfielder James McArthur, are among those who have already all gone public with their support of of the coach.

"Like anything, you need continuity in any walk of life, club level or international level," said Webster, adding his backing for the man who signed him for Hearts from Arbroath. "You need stability.

"Nobody wants to be in this situation and it's going to take a lot of hard work and effort to get out of it."

Webster maintains that the Scotland squad is a talented one, with proven performers in the top two divisions in England, but is unable to explain the poor run of results.

"The quality in the squad now is as good as it has been in the recent past," he said.

"The level the players are playing at has definitely improved.

"If you could put your finger on it, you would, and you'd rectify what's gone on.

"It's difficult at international level to score the goals you need.

"During the game you might get two or three opportunities and you need to take them."

Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew, who was also an unused substitute, agreed that Scotland had good quality players.

However, he thought that more of them would emerge if there was a greater emphasis on technique for children playing football.

"Coming through as a young player, even at Celtic, it is all about winning and less about performances and that's a big problem in Scotland," he said.

"As long as you won the game, it didn't matter and that's wrong.

"You have to have that mentality, but I think, when you're young, the most important thing is your technical ability."