|Scotland midfielder Barry Robson will be looking for some stronger refereeing and increased quality in the final third when Scotland trot out onto the Hampden pitch on Tuesday night. He thought those key ingredients were missing from Craig Levein's first competitive game in charge of the national side. Despite the result, Robson could see major improvements following recent internationals. Robson had several chances to trouble Zydrunas Karcemarskas from free-kicks but there was only one which made the Lithuanian 'keeper scramble to push the ball wide. The Middlesbrough midfielder was a target for some tough tackling, with the first foul of the game putting him off the pitch. He agreed with his manager that Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir should have been firmer. Scotland gave away 21 free-kicks to Lithuania's 25 but the Scotland manager noted that some home players committed four or five fouls without getting booked.
Robson said: "Every time you broke forward someone took you down. It was quite frustrating but that's what happens and you need some protection from the referee at times. I didn't think we got it. Every time we got in good positions to get a cross in or make a good pass, we got taken down. It was frustrating. But, on saying that, we came at them and had a few good chances as well. A wee bit better quality, some better balls into the box from me, and we might have won the game. We were much the better team and it was frustrating in the end."
Robson was encouraged by the performance in Kaunus after the team kept their first clean sheet away from home since the famous 1-0 win over France in Paris three years ago. Levein will have learnt from Friday's game and will no doubt amend this tactics for the game against Liechtenstein on Tuesday. There could be starting places for James McFadden, after his 25-minute run-out on Friday, and Kris Boyd could be called into action at some point after being left on the bench in Kaunas. And the solid nature of the team will give Levein cause for optimism ahead of next month's difficult double header against Czech Republic in Prague and world and European champions Spain at Hampden. Robson said: "Hopefully we can move forward and win the next game. It's not a problem, we know we can still play better. But we looked a lot better than we had done. You can see the manager is trying to build something here and we'll move forward. As I said, I think the referee had a bit to play in that game and it was frustrating. But we will keep going and we will get even better."
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
Admin Team (admin@scottishfitba net)
This is ScottishFitba Net