McLeish: Scotland a work in progress

New Scotland boss Alex McLeish insists his win ratio is less important than finding a recipe for success with the national team in his second spell at the helm.

The Scottish Football Association relieved Gordon Strachan of his duties in October last year for failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and McLeish was named his successor last month.

The 59-year-old, who previously managed his country for a short stint in 2007, began his second tenure with a 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica at Hampden Park on Friday.

Five players made their senior debuts for the Scots, with Scott McTominay, Scott McKenna, Kevin McDonald and Oliver McBurnie all included in the starting line-up, while Jamie Murphy came off the bench late on.

The hosts were flat in the first half, but they improved markedly after the break, and McLeish admits he was experimenting in a search to find the right formula going forward.

“It’s a building process,” he said after the match. “They’re a well-drilled team and we’re a work in progress and still to get the team to play with a rhythm.

“It can happen that when you look at a team on paper and think it’s a great team, many times in my career I’ve rotated a team and thought it’s a good team but they’ve struggled a little bit, and we had that in the first half.

“It’s not a competition, that’s why we’re experimenting, I’d love to have a great win ratio but sometimes you have to make some sacrifice and we’ve learned a lot tonight.

“The second half was better than the first. We were a bit laboured before half-time, we said to push up on them but we were kind of halfway there, not quite the full distance.

“We sat a little deep, the goal had three defenders in the middle of the box, but no-one who engaged with the striker. It was a good piece of play, but he punished us.”

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