Scotland boss Alex McLeish lauded the intensity of his side’s play in their 1-0 friendly victory over Hungary, picking out young defenders Scott McKenna and Jack Hendry for individual praise.
McLeish’s second spell in charge of the national team got off to a tepid start on Friday, Costa Rica claiming a 1-0 at Hampden Park.
But, despite Charlie Mulgrew’s penalty miss, Scotland responded in gritty fashion on Tuesday – Matt Phillips’ first international goal, and some superb goalkeeping from Allan McGregor, seeing off Hungary at Groupama Arena.
And McLeish, who has introduced a raft of fresh faces into the squad, was keen to single out the displays of McKenna and Hendry, making their second and first international starts respectively.
“Scott McKenna was amazing,” McLeish, who deployed the experienced Mulgrew alongside the Aberdeen and Celtic youngsters in a back three, told BBC Sportsound.
“I thought big Jack, his first game, he was very cool and calm. Very confident.
“McKenna had a really strong game. He’s had an excellent two games but tonight I thought he was even better.
“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.
“We had some great performances, every player to a man. They virtually controlled it. We had one slip, I have nothing but praise for everybody.
“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.”
McLeish will now have to wait until May for his squad to regroup for friendlies against Peru and Mexico.