Scotland 2-0 Malta: Gordon Strachan content to stay in play-off hunt

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Strachan 'not thinking about Slovakia'

Head coach Gordon Strachan said he is happy that Scotland's World Cup qualifying fate is in their own hands after a 2-0 win over Malta at Hampden.

Scotland dropped a place to fourth in Group F, level on points with Slovenia and a point behind Slovakia. England are five points clear at the top.

Wins over both in their final two games next month will secure second place and a play-off spot for Scotland.

"I'm all right with that," said Strachan.

"We tried to make up for bad performances or low-key performances by doing the best we can.

"They had the belief when things weren't going well to pick themselves up and go again. It showed that no matter what the belief would be elsewhere, they had a belief in themselves.

"We've put ourselves in a position now that we go into the final couple of games still with a chance of getting to the play-offs."

Christophe Berra's header in the first half was followed by Leigh Griffiths' close-range strike after the interval for Scotland, who won 3-0 in Lithuania on Friday.

"Twenty-five attempts at goal - that says it all," said Strachan.

"Forty-eight for the last two games, so that's good enough to win games of football, if you make that amount of chances. You don't make those chances all the time at international level.

"I don't know the last time we had 25 attempts at goal. We could have scored more goals tonight but maybe they were a wee bit tired after Friday. That was more than enough tonight.

"It's been a good eight days for the players."

Group F table

Scotland captain Scott Brown, Griffiths, Charlie Mulgrew, James McArthur and Grant Hanley avoided a booking that would have resulted in a suspension for the Slovakia game in Glasgow.

"That could have affected them at times," said Strachan. "It had to be a bit of a more low tempo to make sure the guys got through that, so that's a bonus as well."

England came from behind to beat Slovakia 2-1 at Wembley, leaving them one win away from sealing qualification.

Scotland host Slovakia on 5 October and travel to Slovenia on 8 October.

"I'm not thinking about that [the next game] just now," said Strachan.

"What we have to do is keep an eye on the players for the next four weeks and make sure that they're all on top form by the time it gets round again.

"There might be other guys who are ready to go, maybe other guys that get injured. That's what we'll be doing for the next month."

Scotland celebrate
Wins in their final two games would secure second place for Scotland

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