Peter Houston is backing his friend and boss Craig Levein is defending the 4-6-0 formation utilised by Scotland against the Czech Republic on Friday. Houston claims it was a "great strategy" which could be repeated in the future. In a one-sided EURO2012 qualifier in Prague, Scotland set-out to play without out-and-out strikers and eventually lost 1-0 to leave them with four points from three games ahead of the visit of world champions Spain on Tuesday night. Despite widespread criticism of the formation which continued over the weekend, Houston was unrepentant. The Scotland assistant manager said: "You have a duty to try and get something points-wise for the country. I agreed with Craig, I felt it was the right way to go about it, to hit them on the counter-attack. I had watched a couple of DVDs of the Czech Republic and I thought it was a great strategy to come up with. I thought we could counter-attack against them. I think Scotland as a nation are better at counter-attacking. I don't remember them cutting us open and getting shots on goal or having a lot of chances. I don't think Allan McGregor had to have the game of his life. We had one save from him in the first half and he had to make a great save in the second half. I think we played some good stuff and were unlucky to lose to a goal from a set play. Unfortunately, we couldn't score at the other end. The only regret we've got is that we've lost the game. The players worked their socks off and almost achieved but that didn't happen. It's over and done with now, we can't look back, we've got to look forward and what a way to look forward - playing Spain at Hampden."
Asked if he thought the same unusual approach could be used the future, Houston replied: "If it is the right thing to do. It doesn't mean that we go into the game against Spain with the same formation. Every game has a different outlook. Spain have different players from the Czech Republic, we will look forward to it. We are keen to play the world champions in what will be a difficult game. But footballers like to play at the top level and nobody is better than the world champions. We expect them to pass the ball well and what we have got to try and do is keep the ball, make sure we are organised and look to score."
Even before Friday's disappointment, most Scotland supporters did not expect Levein's side to take anything from the Spain game but Houston insists the negativity has not permeated the Scotland squad. He went on: "I don't think players have that mind-set. Players always think they are good enough to take something from a game. You look at some of our players. Rangers have done really well in Europe recently, getting to the (UEFA) cup final a couple of years ago and the majority of players are still there. Darren Fletcher regularly plays against that (level of team) so the players have a lot of pride and determination and we will go out as positive as we can. It will be difficult, we know that because there are not many teams beat the world champions but with the positivity of the players, we hope we can take something on Tuesday."
Spurs full-back Alan Hutton, Wigan defender Gary Caldwell, West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans and Rangers utility man Steven Whittaker were not risked in Sunday's training session but Houston was confident that "the majority, if not all" would be available for selection. Caldwell played 75 minutes in Prague on Friday, his first action of the season for club or country following a hip operation, and Houston did not rule out the former Celtic man making back-to-back appearances - despite Wigan manager Roberto Martinez claiming his player was not fit for two games in quick succession. Houston said: "Caldwell has been feeling good, we know he's been out for a while but nobody knows his body better than the player himself. He was very keen to do something today and although he has not played a lot, he's certainly put himself up for selection."
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