McLeish looks long term after Scotland snap losing run

Scotland made a successful start to the Nations League but their rebuilding job will take time and patience, according to Alex McLeish.

Scotland coach Alex McLeish speaks with Charlie Mulgrew.   -  Getty Images

Scotland coach Alex McLeish says he never panicked over a poor sequence of results that came to an end against Albania in the Nations League.

Steven Naismith starred in a 2-0 victory at a sodden Hampden Park on Monday to help snap a run of three successive defeats.

Demand for improvement had risen after the most recent of those losses, a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Belgium last week, left McLeish with one win in five since returning to the job in February.

But with experience gained from "tough games" against Peru and Mexico earlier this year and a confident start to the Nations League, the former Rangers manager is confident Scotland are on the right track.

Read: Naismith inspires hope for McLeish

"It's about building a team here. It's not papering over cracks," McLeish told Sky Sports.

"It's about building and they've had the hardest tests possible.

"There are players who have come in that might have thought they would never get a Scotland cap and excelled.

"I told the players before the game I trusted them to improve on the errors of the Belgium game and they were excellent.

"We were under pressure, everybody said we must win, and we did win. So that's great."

Naismith was instrumental to taking Scotland top of Group 1 in League C, forcing Albania defender Berat Djimsiti into scoring an own goal for the opener and later heading in the second.

The 31-year-old, who was only called up as an injury replacement, sees a positive future for a team that came in for plenty of criticism in the wake of the Belgium loss.

"I think some people were carried away with Friday," Naismith said. "We were playing against one of the best sides in the world and we got a lesson.

"Tonight was the business end and I think a lot of credit should go to the younger boys for showing character.

"A lot of the boys haven't been together that long and it's a young squad, so there are going to be a few teething problems.

"But overall we're happy with the direction we’re moving in. We've got to continue it now."

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