Levein lauds Scotland's powers of recovery

Scotland manager Craig Levein
Levein has won five of his 10 games in charge of Scotland

Scotland manager Craig Levein praised his players for recovering from a first-half setback to beat Wales 3-1 in the Carling Nations Cup in Dublin.

A defensive error by Stephen Crainey was seized upon by Wales captain Robert Earnshaw, who raced clear and slipped the ball past Allan McGregor.

"The important thing is to know that if we make a mistake we can recover from it," Levein told BBC Scotland.

"Stephen made great strides to recover. In football mistakes happen."

Scotland fielded a strong starting 11, while Wales were depleted through injury and players' involvement in the Championship play-off final between Swansea and Reading on Monday.

Having beaten Northern Ireland 3-0 in their first match in the tournament in February, Levein's aim of going in to the final game against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday with six points was dealt a blow by Earnshaw's 36th minute opener.

But, according to the Scotland manager, there was no sense of panic in the dressing room at the interval.

He said: "I was happy at half-time. We hadn't done an awful lot wrong. We had made one mistake and we were punished for it. We were totally dominant.

"The midfield weren't quite acting together when we were pressing the ball.

"They played round us a few times and pushed us back towards the edge of our box when we could have won the ball far higher up the park if we had played in unison.

"But the effort in the first half was fabulous."

The Scots raced out of the traps in the second half and drew level when James Morrison collected Charlie Adam's incisive pass and fired home in the 55th minute, much to the delight of the Tartan Army in the 6,036 crowd.

"In the second half we started on the front foot in midfield," added Levein.

"I must make special mention of the players in there - Morrison, Charlie and Scotty Brown were fabulous.

"They passed the ball really well and broke the play up at every opportunity. But I was pleased with them all.

"The first goal was fantastic. The pass Charlie played and the composure that James showed when he picked the ball up was first class."

Levein is now relishing the prospect of facing Giovanni Trapatonni's Republic side at the Aviva Stadium at the weekend.

"The great thing for me tonight is that we did our best to please our supporters who have had all sorts of trials and tribulations to get here," said the manager.

"I thought they were wonderful tonight, they were behind us from the first whistle.

"They will be looking forward to the game on Sunday just as much as we are."

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