Take a bow! Strachan full of praise as Scotland bow out with a bang at Hampden

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has told his players to take a bow after ending a wretched World Cup campaign on a high.

A second successive win over a multi-talented Croatia side erased the spectre of a first qualifying campaign in 60 years without a home win and ended a two year wait for a Hampden triumph.

Robert Snodgrass marked the birth of his baby daughter on Thursday by scoring the opener – just as he did for June’s 1-0 win in Zagreb.

Hampden roar: Scotland boss Gordon Strachan praised his players after the 2-0 victory over Croatia

Hampden roar: Scotland boss Gordon Strachan praised his players after the 2-0 victory over Croatia

And Steven Naismith rammed home the second after Barry Bannan’s penalty kick was saved superbly by Croat keeper Stipe Pletikosa.

Ending an otherwise forgettable campaign with three wins from the last four Strachan insisted the credit belonged to the players saying: 'It was a nice way to finish the week. When you put that hard work in it’s nice to get a performance and a win.

'There was a big difference here from my first game against Wales, but the players have gradually turned it round.

'They should be really proud of themselves.

Robert Snodgrass of Scotland celebrates his goal with Barry Bannan

Robert Snodgrass of Scotland celebrates his goal with Barry Bannan

'Snodgrass did well tonight playing in an unusual role. We were short of attacking bodies and strength in forward positions and he did okay.

'He scored a wonderful goal hit the post and did a lot of good things.

'But his mate I thought was terrific – Naismith.

'His work-rate – everything about him. He’s not the world’s greatest player, but he has a big heart and he does things to bring others players into it.

'He makes team-mates better.

'He gets the game up the pitch, he wins headers, he takes fouls and works incredibly hard.'

Job well done: Strachan greets goalscorer Steven Naismith as he leaves the pitch

Job well done: Strachan greets goalscorer Steven Naismith as he leaves the pitch

Ikechi Anya followed up his fine debut in Macedonia by winning the penalty. As Bannan saw his well struck effort saved, however, Strachan feared the worst – until Naismith reacted quickest.

'It was good to see him score a goal. I was saying “what miss – oh, what a good goal!'

'I said ‘who allowed him to take that penalty? – oh what a good goal!’

'The home win has no real importance, but it makes you happy for a month.'

Tumble: Scotland's Ikechi Anya is tackled by Domagoj Vida of Croatia and wins a penalty

Tumble: Scotland's Ikechi Anya is tackled by Domagoj Vida of Croatia and wins a penalty

The Tartan Army offered their side a rousing ovation at time-up and Strachan says confidence is now high for when the qualifiers for Euro 2016 start in eleven months time.

'You have to take a few physical and mental knocks and it gets better and it grows within the crowd and the players feel that as well.

'If the whole stadium grows in confidence then it makes us all feel better.

'I’m okay with the fact we have no competitive games soon. I’m fine.

Counterparts: Strachan and Croatia manager Igor Stimac (left) shake hands prior to the match

Counterparts: Strachan and Croatia manager Igor Stimac (left) shake hands prior to the match

'It was good when the fans sung at the end. When you are Scotland manager you want to make the nation happy and hopefully we’ve made the nation go home happy.'

Reacting to news that Igor Stimac, his opposite number, had offered his resignation after losing three of their last four games and sliding into second place behind Belgium Strachan said: 'I’ll speak to him in a minute. I don’t know if I’m surprised. He’s a lovely man and a terrific fella.'

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