BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
FORMER number two Peter Houston admits he was especially thrilled for manager Gordon Strachan in the wake of Scotland’s 5-1 hammering of Malta at the weekend.
Houston believes there was, unfairly, a degree of pressure building on Strachan ahead of the kick-off to the World Cup qualifying campaign.
With question marks hanging over his squad and then team selection for Sunday’s clash, there was a feeling Strachan’s critics may have been sharpening their knives with the 1-1 scoreline at half-time in Ta’ Qali.
However, Houston, who was assistant during Craig Levein’s ill-fated three years in charge of the national team, believes the comfortable victory was richly deserved and one to be celebrated.
The Falkirk manager said: “I’m delighted for Gordon and the players because at half-time, even though there were still 45 minutes to go, probably a lot of people were starting to doubt them.
“They made three really good chances in the first-half and Snoddy (Robert Snodgrass) should have scored with his header.
“But in the second-half they created loads of chances and restricted Malta to nothing.
“I don’t care what anyone says, in international football there aren’t any easy games, but Scotland made it look easy in the end by scoring five.
“As a supporter, I would have taken a 1-0 win, but I’m delighted for the players and for Gordon, especially, because there was maybe a wee bit of pressure on him, although Gordon would probably say there wasn’t.
“People were demanding a victory and he turned up and delivered.”
• Meanwhile, Falkirk are sweating over the fitness of Aaron Muirhead ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Raith Rovers.
The former Partick Thistle defender injured his knee in training last week and missed out on Saturday’s 6-1 hammering of Elgin City in the IRN-BRU Cup.
The 26-year-old was sent for a scan to explore the extent of the damage and he could be forced to sit out the trip to Stark’s Park.
Houston explained: “Aaron got injured in training last week and has been for a scan on the cartilage area in his knee.
“It’s not looking too serious but I don’t know if he’s going to be ready for Saturday.”