Craig Levein praise for Scotland display

Scotland coach Craig Levein was happy to see off Lithuania at Hampden but admitted the 1-0 win could have been easier on fans' nerves.

"Any time you pick up three points, it's a huge plus," Levein told BBC Scotland after keeping alive faint hopes of a Euro 2012 play-off place.

"I was pleased with the good football and the number of chances we created.

"The negative aspect was the fact we didn't bury the game in the first half when we had the opportunities."

Scotland, minus experienced striker Kenny Miller and midfield duo Scott Brown and Charlie Adam, dominated the opening 45 minutes and squandered several good openings.

Skipper Darren Fletcher was the worst culprit, seeing his penalty saved a minute before the interval.

"It's disappointing but it's part of the game," said Levein of the spot-kick miss. "It happens. He was brave enough to take the penalty.

"More important to me is that he's back and fit. He's a delight to work with as a player and captain.

"The performances he put in on Saturday and tonight, in a different role, show what an important player he is for us."

Blackburn striker David Goodwillie lead the attack in the absence of the suspended Miller, while Barry Bannan, Don Cowie and James Morrison all showed up well and Steven Naismith grabbed the vital goal five minutes into the second half.

"Guys have to have experience of being in front of goal to understand the pressure of finishing off a move and we had our most prolific player sitting on the sidelines," added Levein.

"They all had shots at putting the ball in the back of the net and our good play definitely merited more goals.

"At 1-0, the opposition are never out of the game, so it did become a little bit nervy."

Scotland have scored seven goals and conceded seven in six qualifying games to take eight points - two behind second-placed Czech Republic in Group I, with Spain leading the way on 18 points.

Levein bristled at the suggestion his tactics veer towards the overly-cautious and voiced exasperation at media criticism.

"I thought we played attacking, entertaining football, we created numerous chances," he said.

"In international football, if you can tell me half a dozen teams that play with two strikers, I'd be happy to hear that. I think people sometimes confuse playing two strikers with attacking.

"The philosophy we have is to try to pass the ball, we encourage people to be brave and try things in the last third of the park.

"We were in front, the lads are bit nervous after losing a late goal on Saturday, so we defend a little bit deeper. We had opportunities on the counter to kill the game off even during that period.

"I'm quickly learning in this job that it is either feast or famine.

"Going back to Saturday [2-2 draw with Czech Republic], we played a good game and lost out in the last minutes to two terrible refereeing decisions. I saw continued progress then and I saw continued progress tonight.

"I believe in the players and they believe in what we are trying to do. I can assure you there are no negative thoughts in our heads at all."

Scotland's remaining matches are away from home against Liechtenstein and group winners Spain next month, while the Czechs are at home to the world champions and end the campaign with a trip to Lithuania.

"We have two difficult matches, two very different types of games," explained Levein. "We'll have to break down Liechtenstein, which we found very difficult to do here last time.

"Then we have the last match against Spain, which could be all or nothing, and we'll worry about that one when we get there."

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