Alex McLeish sees positives as Scotland lose to Mexico in friendly

Alex McLeish says Scotland are “building for the future” after they concluded their mini-tour of the Americas with a 1-0 defeat to Mexico on Saturday.

Seven players from McLeish’s inexperienced squad had made their debuts in the 2-0 loss to Peru in Lima on Tuesday night, and two more new faces – keepers Jon McLaughlin and his interval replacement Scott Bain – did so against the Mexicans, who won through a first-half goal from Giovani Dos Santos.

The home side had several chances to increase their lead and struck the woodwork twice, although the visitors improved markedly after the break and might have sneaked a draw had Oli McBurnie’s header not smacked the post.

“The trip has been great,” said McLeish. “The players have been very professional. Normally they would be on their holidays. We would love to be going to the World Cup the same as Mexico.

“But we have played a couple of games that can help us build for the future.

“It was a very tough game for us at altitude and in these conditions. I think the players that we had out there did the country proud.

“We are trying to get better on the technical side and we have asked the players to look at their game and be brave, to make passes and receive passes.

“It’s a big part of the plan going forward.”

McLeish did reveal an element of frustration with the attacking side of Scotland’s game.

He said: “We looked to be more of a threat, to get players forward in the box.

“I felt that we never had the best of deliveries. When we got into wide areas, we hit the first man a lot when we had good presence in the box.

“You saw when we got a good cross in the second half, McBurnie had a good header, he was unlucky he hit the post. In the first half, we had crosses potentially for the strength of Callum Paterson but we didn’t quite succeed.

“Both teams made changes, that can upset the rhythm of the game, but both teams did what they could to impress the fans and the coaches.”

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