Scotland: Charlie Mulgrew upbeat despite loss to Costa Rica

Scotland captain Charlie Mulgrew
Charlie Mulgrew says Scotland will become stronger under new manager Alex McLeish

Scotland captain Charlie Mulgrew is keen to "move on quickly" from the defeat by Costa Rica as Alex McLeish's new-look side begins to take shape.

Mulgrew skippered Scotland for the first time with McLeish's first game in his second spell in charge ending in a 1-0 friendly loss at Hampden Park.

"It's a new squad, new staff, we have to move forward," Mulgrew said.

"It [being Scotland captain] was a proud moment, all my family were here. I'm honoured."

McLeish's side featured five debutants: defender Scott McKenna, midfielders Scott McTominay and Kevin McDonald, and striker Oli McBurnie all started, while Jamie Murphy came off the bench at a subdued and sparsely-attended national football stadium.

With the second friendly away to Hungary next Tuesday, Mulgrew admits it will take time for the players to gel.

"It's difficult when it's a friendly but it's up to us to create that atmosphere," said the Blackburn Rovers defender, 32. "In the first half we didn't press as a team and didn't sit off as a team, and that's where we got most of our problems.

"We sorted that at half-time and [there were] definitely encouraging signs.

'New formation for the boys'

"The message was nice and clear at half time: get up higher, get pressing. You saw that in the second half, they never had much and we dominated.

"Oli [McBurnie] put himself about and it was a difficult shift for him up there. He didn't see much of the ball but when he did he held it in well and did ok. The two Scotts did well.

"We're delighted to have all these players and we will get stronger as we go forward.

Scott McKenna and Oli McBurnie after Scotland's defeat by Costa Rica
Scott McKenna and Oli McBurnie, both 21, made their Scotland debuts on Friday

"You always want to win the game and we're disappointed we didn't, but we need to take the positives, move on quickly and be ready when the competitive games come around."

Scotland team-mate and fellow defender Andy Robertson says there are grounds for optimism ahead of next week's trip to Budapest.

"We need to work on creating chances but we had three or four debuts, so it will take time," said the Liverpool player. "It's never nice to get beat but we take positives from it.

"Thanks to the fans who turned up but it was quiet. We had to create our own tempo and struggled with that.

"They were wasting time, which you don't normally get in friendlies, but they wanted to win the game and that's fine. We didn't create enough chances in the first half to create our own atmosphere and tempo, and we need to look at that.

Andy Robertson shone against Costa Rica
Andy Robertson is confident Scotland will improve

"The chances will hopefully come and with more time in that formation we can work on it and hopefully get better.

"You see there is a lot of quality on the bench that didn't get on today, but the boys who went out did well. Big Oli [McBurnie] did well up top, he was isolated in the first half but held it up well. I was right next to Scott McKenna and thought he did well.

"It was a formation that was new to a few of the boys but we had to be braver at times, go man-to-man and try to press them a bit higher up. I think we showed them too much respect in the first half and if we'd pressed them it might have been a different game.

"If you look at the squad from the last campaign, there's probably not many of us that are here. A few got a bit older and retired, a few haven't been selected. It is a new squad, the midfield was completely new.

"In the second half, we can take positives from our pressing and our shape - if we can take that into Tuesday, it's a good building block."

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