Levein happy as Scotland move in right direction
Craig Levein believes Scotland's 2-1 friendly win over Denmark at Hampden Park on Wednesday was another step in the right direction as they prepare for next month's crucial UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers.
Scotland face Group I rivals Czech Republic and Lithuania at Hampden in September in games that will go a long way to deciding who will take the play-off spot that comes with finishing second behind world champions Spain. But after watching his side defeat Denmark - who top qualifying Group H along with Norway and Portugal - for the first time since 1975, the Scotland manager said the result was another sign of progress.
"The result will do us the world of good. There were a lot of things that were important from the match," Levein said. "The win shows a mentality that's needed. This game was a friendly match and I said that beforehand but it shows a sign of progress.
"We sat here a year ago talking about a 3-0 defeat in Sweden that was hefty and sore and very difficult for me. When I was asked after the game what positives I took out of it I found it very difficult to take any out of the game.
"Right from the build-up this time round we have had far fewer call-offs. You look at the players and they keep improving. They are starting to gel a little bit on the pitch as well as off it. And although we have got a hell of a long way to go there are signs of progress."
Scotland took the lead at Hampden when William Kvist deflected a free-kick from Liverpool's Charlie Adam past Thomas Sorensen in the 22nd minute. The Danes drew level nine minutes later with a free-kick of their own when Ajax's Christian Eriksen caught out 'keeper Allan McGregor from his swerving set-piece.
However, Scotland regained the lead on the stroke of half-time through Robert Snodgrass, and Levein said he hoped for an even better performance against the Czechs - who Scotland trail by five points having played a game less - in what is a must win game next month.
"The real pleasing thing for me was the way we played, particularly in the first-half when for long spells we did exactly what I hoped we would do, which was to be patient in possession and be incisive in attack," Levein said. "We had some really good passages of play which are indicative of the stuff the lads have been playing in the last four or five games.
"Overall it is another small step in the right direction. The intention is to put on an even better display against the Czech Republic if that is possible. I am confident we are capable of beating the Czech Republic. I know for a fact we will go out and play in the same manner and we will run ourselves into the ground to win the game. That is a big thing to have in our armoury.
"I think we are getting better but I can't guarantee results, that's impossible. If we can keep improving and if the players believe together they can keep improving then we've got a good chance."