Scotland 1-1 Canada: Poor start affected Scots - Gordon Strachan

Robert Snodgrass and La'Vere Corbin-Ong
Scotland drew 1-1 with Canada at Easter Road

Manager Gordon Strachan felt Scotland struggled to recover from their poor start in the 1-1 draw with Canada.

The visitors led through Fraser Aird's strike after 11 minutes, with Steven Naismith levelling before the break.

"Because of our first 15 minutes, giving the ball away, I thought we got a bit negative," Strachan told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound.

"That's what happens when players don't play regularly. We could've trusted each other better with the ball."

The Scots host Slovenia on Sunday in their fifth World Cup qualifier, with the visitors four points ahead of second-bottom Scotland.

And Strachan was glad to have had the friendly with Canada at Easter Road, despite only being able to draw with the side ranked 117th in the world.

Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney - who has scored nine goals in 41 appearances at club level this season - was given his international debut and it was from his shot that Naismith diverted the ball over the line to draw Scotland level.

Scotland and Canada players
Cairney played his first 76 minutes of international football before being replaced by John McGinn

Ikechi Anya, who has just one substitute appearance at club level in March, again started at right-back, where he played in the November defeat by England, while RB Leipzig's Oliver Burke started wide on the left after three substitute appearances in the Bundesliga this month.

Burke and Rangers captain Lee Wallace were withdrawn at half-time, the latter at fault for Canada's goal, and Barry Bannan and Andy Robertson, regulars for Sheffield Wednesday and Hull City, came on.

Christophe Berra and Charlie Mulgrew formed a new central defensive pairing but were stretched at times, particularly by the running of Falkirk winger Aird.

"It's one of the best decisions we've made as the coaching group in the SFA by playing this game," Strachan added.

"We found out so many things tonight. It's very hard for players who are not playing regularly to turn on the magic and feel really good about themselves.

"So, we learned that lesson, the lesson that you really can't mis-pass the ball so many times in the first 10 minutes and expect to then go and play really that well because you lose a bit of confidence.

Gordon Strachan
Strachan has admitted Sunday's match with Slovenia is one Scotland must win

"When you're not playing regularly, you lose that couple of yards' pace, you lose that wee touch, you lose that finishing that you would normally have. That's what happened to us tonight.

"It's very hard. It's like asking a top golfer to be out for six, seven weeks and go and try and play in the Masters.

"Tom did all right in his first game. Kech [Anya] kept us going, Barry did well when he came on. Charlie Mulgrew was comfortable, Christophe Berra was comfortable doing what he does well - man-marking. Andrew played very well when he came on as well.

"It helps us make sure we have to pick a bunch of lads, a group of lads who are feeling really good about themselves at the moment. Has it made my mind up with one or two things? Yes, it has, yeah."

And Anya said: "It was a good exercise. For a few of us who haven't been playing for our club sides that regularly, it was a worthwhile exercise against a good opposition.

"The game was put on for a purpose and it served that purpose, let us speak after the game on Sunday, that's the most important."

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