Just Add The Killer Ball

By Ed_ScottishFitba
Last updated : 06 September 2010

Kenny Miller v lithuaniaKenny Miller has supported national manager Craig Levein and his choice tactics in Lithuania. It was just the final ball which was missing from one of the most dominant away performances the Scotland striker can remember. Miller started up front on his own, as expected, for the EURO2012 game in Kaunas but Levein chose Steven Naismith ahead of James McFadden on the left flank. Scotland had several decent opportunities but failed to find the killer touch in the goalless draw. McFadden came on midway through the second half and joined Miller up front for the last 20 minutes, with Naismith also getting further forward in the latter stages. Miller felt Levein's 4-5-1 formation and the players' work rate allowed the visitors to dominate the game. McFadden and Kris Boyd could be in line to start when Scotland meet Liechtenstein on Tuesday night but Miller feels Levein's first selection was spot-on.

He said: "
You would have to ask the manager how we will line up now but I felt we took the game to Lithuania on Friday night. We played with one up front but you saw in the first half how high we pressed the ball and how hard we worked to try to get the ball back as soon as we lost it. That's the way you have to play. The energy we've got in the midfield with Fletch (Darren Fletcher) and Broony (Scott Brown) in particular in the middle and wee Naisy out wide, you have got to play like that and I think you will see the same on Tuesday."

Miller thinks the overall performance offers encouragement at the start of a qualifying campaign in a group that also features Spain and Czech Republic. The striker said:
"I thought we played well. We controlled the game without creating any real clear-cut chances. I had a header in the second half and tried to get a power and guide it towards the corner, but unfortunately it never happened and it went straight to the keeper. Wee Naisy in the last 10 minutes, if he gets his touch right and gets his shot away, you would fancy him to score. But on a bobbly pitch the ball got stuck under his feet. It wasn't to be, the final pass and the final ball could have been a wee bit better to set up a goalscoring chance. But we've come away, got a clean sheet, we definitely worked hard, which is the standard for when you come away from home with Scotland. We'll take that into Tuesday night. Bar the foul on big Davie Weir in the first half and a fantastic save from Allan in the first half, we felt comfortable in the game. For long spells, we dominated. It's probably as much possession we've had in any away game I can remember. That final pass, if it had just been that bit better, it might have given us more opportunities."

Levein plans to make changes for the Hampden game but he had no regrets over his tactics in Kaunas. The Scotland manager said: "
We have a group of players who are honest and hard-working and I think that's a good place to start. We've been in decline for a while and it's incumbent upon on me to pick the best way of getting results. If we had nicked a goal, everybody would be saying things were great. There's a level of enthusiasm, energy and passion I want to instil in the side and I'm going to stick to doing what I think is right. Along the way there will be criticism and praise but that's part of being a manager - you take the rough with the smooth. Ultimately, what will decide whether I've done a good job or not is if we have a chance of qualifying for the European Championship. It's not after one match and certainly not when, for me, the signs are that there are better times ahead." Levein confirmed there would be changes for Hampden. He said: "It will probably need one or two more flair players to try and break the opposition down. The shape might change and certainly the personnel will change."

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