Gordon Strachan thrilled at confident Scotland display

Gordon Strachan claimed his Scotland team's assured performance in their 2-0 win over Croatia was better than he could have imagined.

Robert Snodgrass's header and a strike by Steven Naismith gave the Scots their first home win in an unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.

"Last night when I went to sleep, I envisaged some sort of victory, but that was beyond a dream when you play as confidently," said the manager.

"That's probably our best performance."

Strachan took over in January after the sacking of Craig Levein with Scotland on two points from their first four Group A games.

His first competitive match was the 2-1 Hampden defeat by Wales in March that left Scotland at the foot of the table.

An away defeat by Serbia followed was next before Snodgrass scored the only goal of the game against Croatia to pick up three points in Zagreb in June.

Fifa 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group A

Played Won Points

Belgium

10

8

26

Croatia

10

5

17

Serbia

10

4

14

Scotland

10

3

11

Wales

10

3

10

Macedonia

10

2

7

A 2-0 loss at home to Belgium, the group's standout team, was not unexpected so the 2-1 win over Macedonia in Skopje last month and the final-game win over Croatia have lifted the spirits of players and fans alike as they look ahead to Euro 2016 qualifying.

Strachan told BBC Scotland: "I hope the players can take great strength from this and go back to their clubs stronger - and I hope the players who are injured get back and give me a real headache.

"There are good players who were watching the game from home and I hope that inspired them to get back.

"The next bit of pressure is dealing with the expectation. I am more than happy that we've got the players that can deal with that.

"I was looking at some groups and there were some far easier than this one.

"Croatia, when we beat them, were third in the world yet Belgium beat them. That's what we were dealing with here.

"Some groups don't have anyone in the top 15."

Strachan praised Everton forward Naismith, who marked his 25th appearance for his country with a goal, following up on Barry Bannan's saved penalty to ram home the second.

That followed Snodgrass's first-half header from Charlie Mulgrew's lofted cross from the left.

Gordon Strachan and Steven Naismith

Gordon Strachan presents Steven Naismith with a commemorative medal on reaching his 25th cap

"It was hard work. You have to put a lot more work in sometimes than the more naturally gifted players that we sometimes play against," added the Scotland boss.

"There were huge performances. The lads who played were terrific.

"Steven Naismith playing up front - maybe he doesn't get many hits at goal, but he brings others into play and allows us to get up the pitch.

"He annoys defenders and he helps the rest of the team.

"He has always been a good player, but as long as you keep your fitness and you're willing to learn, you'll get better.

"He just wants more knowledge to come to him and he'll take it in.

"We feel there is more pressure on us at home because we have to take the game to good sides and at the moment the squad is lacking a few attacking players that would be picked if they were available, but the lads who played there were terrific."

Scotland next face the United States in a friendly at home on 15 November and look likely to take on Norway in Oslo, again in a friendly.