Euro 2016: Scotland's passing against Republic dismays Strachan

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan
Gordon Strachan said he was pleased with Scotland's overall performances across the season

Gordon Strachan preferred to focus on his Scotland team's poor passing rather than the Republic of Ireland's offside goal in the 1-1 Euro qualifying draw.

The disjointed Scots pulled level on 47 minutes when Shaun Maloney's shot went in off John O'Shea after Jon Walters had put Ireland in front.

"Whatever you do in football, passing is still the most sacred thing," said Strachan after the Dublin match.

"Seven or eight times we gave the ball away without real pressure."

While that irked the Scotland manager, he thought the high-tempo match was "a great occasion", adding: "To get that intensity in June is ridiculous. It's quite phenomenal.

"I think the intensity came from both teams desperate to win and desperate to not lose."

The draw leaves Scotland third in Group D, on 11 points, and Ireland fourth on nine.

Poland lead the group on 14 points, with world champions Germany second, two points above the Scots, after thrashing Gibraltar 7-0.

Scotland's remaining Euro 2016 qualifiers
Georgia (a)4 September
Germany (h)7 September
Poland (h)8 October
Gibraltar (a)11 October

Walters was in an offside position when he pounced to tap in a parry from Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall, who had stopped Daryl Murphy's header crossing the line.

Ireland's Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy were shown first-half yellow cards by Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli in a hard-fought match, McCarthy drawing blood from Russell Martin's nose when his elbow caught the Scotland defender in an aerial challenge.

Strachan added: "I thought the referee was terrific all game. He knew when people were looking for fouls. He helped make that intensity.

"I haven't seen the goal yet. I'm not interested if it was offside or not offside.

"Forget the offside or any challenges, the most important thing in that game was that seven or eight times we gave the ball away without real pressure. I think they got about 12 crosses from us giving the ball away."

Scotland struggled to cope with Martin O'Neill's side, especially in the first half, but there was an immediate improvement after the break, during which Ikechi Anya replaced Matt Ritchie.

Strachan said: "For all you say about systems, we couldn't get ours working, whether it was through Ireland pressing or their physical strength or a lack of match fitness.

Shaun Maloney celebrates his goal
Gordon Strachan says Chicago Fire's Shaun Maloney is the most conscientious player he has ever encountered

"We had a look at it at half-time and moved a couple of people about. We never had a chance to see if our system worked - Shaun popped up.

"All I know is a very good player has got us a point, and a very good player 10 minutes from the end, who is no taller than me, is back at the right-back position heading the ball away.

"He's the most conscientious football player I've ever come across. He deserves every praise he gets."

Strachan refused to guess at the points total required to claim one of the two automatic places for the finals in France next year, but of the point gained in Dublin he said: "Most of the time in football you get what you deserve, so I think we're all right with that."

His assistant Mark McGhee told BBC Scotland: "We still thought, once we got the equaliser, we might conjure some way of winning the game.

"But in the end we are happy with the point and we go to Georgia and Germany, two more massive games."

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