Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Medical | By Ismael Lynch

Northern Ireland secure play-off place despite defeat but Scotland miss out

Northern Ireland secure play-off place despite defeat but Scotland miss out

As a result, Slovakia moved up to second place after beating Malta 3-0 - thanks to two goals from Adam Nemec and one from Ondrej Duda - but the result may not be enough to seal a spot in the playoffs as they are now UEFA's worst runner-up and can only qualify if Wales or Croatia draw. Robert Snodgrass netted a late equaliser but with the draw Scotland slipped to third place, behind Slovakia.

"I know the players' families have backed them up and we are looking after them at the moment".

Blaming genetics for a lack of height and strength to pick from, Strachan added: 'We were against a physically stronger side, a side that hadn't let a goal in here in this campaign.

Other than the questionable team selection, unfaltering loyalty to under-performing players and a staunch refusal to give Leigh Griffiths - Scotland's best natural goalscorer - an adequate amount of game time over the course of the campaign, we're sure Scotland's stocky limbs were the critical issue in missing out on yet another major tournament.

"The fans can't hurt like that, I can't hurt".

Gordon Strachan made two changes from the side that recorded the memorable 1-0 win over Slovakia with James McArthur and Chris Martin replacing James Morrison and James Forrest in a 4-4-2 formation.

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Strachan remained coy on his future, although received support from Celtic striker Griffiths, who expressed hope that the former Coventry, Southampton and Middlesbrough manager would lead Scotland's European Championship qualification campaign. "These guys have put so much into this, that I really do feel for them". "Two set pieces have cost us dearly". But we took the lead.

But he continued in denial mode, telling journalists: "Nobody can tell me their technique, apart from one player, is better than any of ours".

"We just can't play the biggest people in Scotland. And that takes a lot out of you".

'When I look back, I think: 'You have given it a right good shot, ' and they left nothing in the dressing room.

"They come here of their own free will - no one gives them big contracts - and they can be proud of what they have achieved". "We've been beaten on goal difference by Slovakia, who are excellent".

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