Scotland 1-0 Estonia

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland at Pittodrie

Scotland got off to a winning start under their new manager Gordon Strachan.

Highlights - Scotland 1-0 Estonia

Charlie Mulgrew's first international goal was enough to defeat Estonia, but Scotland's victory was more commanding than the scoreline suggests.

They created several chances, particularly in the first half, but too often their finishing let them down.

Allan McGregor made two excellent saves, but anything other than a home win would have been unkind.

There was plenty for the new manager to be pleased about, notably first-half performances by Chris Burke and Shaun Maloney, with Alan Hutton also looking in better form than in recent times.

Second-half substitutions made for a less fluid display, but the victory ensures the feel-good factor brought about by Strachan's appointment will continue into the World Cup qualifier against Wales next month.

Strachan and Brown
Gordon Strachan issues instructions to his captain Scott Brown

Maloney pulled an early save out of Sergei Pareiko and Burke should have scored when sent clean through on goal by Hutton, but elected to cut inside rather than shoot first time and his eventual effort was blocked, as was Charlie Adam's rebound.

Estonia had barely touched the ball in the opening ten minutes, but came mightily close to scoring when Taijo Teniste stepped forward from left-back to unleash a ferocious drive, which McGregor stretched to tip over the bar.

Burke looked sharp early on and a fine Scotland move culminated with the winger scooping a cross to the back post from where Steven Fletcher headed just over.

Maloney's movement was also causing the Estonian defence concern and a shot from distance was pushed away unconvincingly by Pareiko.

But in another rare foray forward on the half-hour, Estonia forced McGregor into a second excellent save - the keeper rushing from his line to thwart Tarmo Kink as he tried to chip the ball over him.

A generally positive Scotland performance was given some added shine with the first goal of the Strachan reign, courtesy of Mulgrew.

With the Estonian defenders anticipating a whipped cross from the left of the box, Adam simply rolled the ball into the area and Mulgrew, knowing exactly what was coming, thrashed the ball past Pareiko from 10 yards.

Jordan Rhodes was introduced for the second half and nearly grabbed a goal with more or less his first involvement, chesting down a long Christophe Berra pass before looping a shot just over the top.

Steven Naismith, who looked much livelier in the second half, blasted a long-range drive just too high and Mulgrew almost doubled his tally with a fierce effort that was tipped over by Pareiko.

Scotland pressed for a second goal to kill Estonia off, and though it did not arrive, the victory was seldom in doubt.

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