Scotland: Gordon Strachan given food for thought for Irish tie

Charlie Mulgrew in action against Qatar
Charlie Mulgrew returned to the side against Qatar

Some Scotland players have forced their way into contention for next week's trip to Dublin after the friendly win over Qatar, says boss Gordon Strachan.

Strachan had said before the game that he was close to deciding his line-up for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Republic of Ireland.

However, after the win at Easter Road, he told BBC Scotland: "There's one or two I need to think about."

The 1-0 victory came courtesy of Matt Ritchie's first international goal.

But Strachan picked out Charlie Mulgrew for special praise after the Celtic utility man, who returned from long-term injury at the end of the domestic season, played in central defence.

"I thought Charlie was fantastic," said Strachan.

Craig Forsyth in action against Qatar
Craig Forsyth earned his third Scotland cap against Qatar

The manager also praised Mulgrew's Celtic team-mate, James Forrest, the winger making his first Scotland start since 2013, and Derby County left-back Craig Forsyth.

And he also praised captain Scott Brown for what Strachan viewed as an improved performance since the last Euro qualifying win over Gibraltar.

Watford winger Ikechi Anya found himself starting at right-back, but the manager explained that he had picked a side of players most in need of match practice after a staggered end to the season.

"We needed that," he said. "Yesterday we did a double training session, morning and afternoon, which you wouldn't normally do before an international game.

"It would have been good if we had been able to play 120 minutes to get the other lads a bit of a game as well.

"But also you want to win the game."

Strachan was not concerned with only a narrow win over a side 69 places below them in the world rankings.

"This team have beaten Slovenia, Algeria and drew with Northern Ireland, so they are no mugs," he said.

"It was a bit difficult for us to make a lot of chances because of the lack of height up front.

"It was a small forward line, so we had to work our way in."

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