Hungary 0-1 Scotland: Alex McLeish praises 'amazing' Scott McKenna & Jack Hendry

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Highlights: Hungary 0-1 Scotland

Scotland head coach Alex McLeish praised young centre-back duo Scott McKenna and Jack Hendry for their part in the 1-0 friendly win in Hungary.

Aberdeen's McKenna, 21, started again after a debut against Costa Rica, while Celtic's Hendry, 22, made his debut.

"Scott McKenna was amazing tonight. He had a really strong game," McLeish told BBC Scotland. "He has had two excellent games and was even better tonight.

"I thought big Jack was very cool and calm and very confident."

The pair started alongside captain Charlie Mulgrew, who missed a first-half penalty before Matt Phillips struck what proved to be the winner from Ryan Fraser's cross early in the second half.

Scotland keeper Allan McGregor made several vital saves, one after Mulgrew gave away possession, but the visitors held on in Budapest to earn the first win of McLeish's second spell in charge.

"I was disappointed on Friday [against Costa Rica] - I hate to lose but I have got to say, they continued where they left off," McLeish said.

"The tempo was tremendous, we had players really confident and using the ball. We had some great performances from everybody to a man.

Scott McKenna competes for a header with Hungary's Adam Szalai
Scott McKenna won his second cap alongside Jack Hendry and Charlie Mulgrew in a back three

"You could say it wasn't going to happen for us when we missed the penalty but we were in control of our emotions and they came back. It's massive. It gives them the evidence that they can win a football match.

"They virtually controlled it. We had one slip, when Allan [McGregor] came to the rescue, but I have nothing but praise for everybody. We played some players with more experience and a bit more knowledge of each other.

"When I took the job I said I thought we had players with good athleticism and speed, but could we find a system to play with tempo and win the ball back immediately? There was real intensity tonight."

McLeish was regularly out of his dug-out shouting instructions to his team, and relished taking a more hands-on role.

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'If Guardiola and Conte can do it, so can I'

"At Hampden I was more like a spectator, not up and down as much. But I wanted to kick every ball," he added.

"When I see managers like Pep Guardiola and Antonio Conte shout to people across the pitch, I thought I can do it as well."

Phillips, who has mostly featured as winger previously for Scotland, caused problems in a lone role up front and was rewarded with his first goal, on his 11th cap.

"I definitely enjoyed that; we came out with a gameplan and played some really good stuff," the 27-year-old told BBC Scotland.

"You can see the boys gelling. I'm delighted to win the game and delighted to get the goal.

"A lot of people talked about me playing up front but I was just delighted to get an opportunity to play for Scotland again.

"It's important for us to start winning games. It's a new group, it will take time but there are plenty of positives to take from both games."

Scotland's next games will be two end-of-season friendlies against Peru, on 29 May, and Mexico, on 2 June, as they continue to prepare for the Nations League starting in September.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Tuesday 27th March 2018

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