WC Qual - UEFA

March 26, 2013

Full-time

Malta

0 - 2

Italy

Group B

19:45 +00:00, March 26, 2013

Ta'Qali National Stadium

Strachan rues mistakes

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan admitted his side needed to cut out the mistakes in defence after two quickfire goals cost them in a second World Cup qualifier in a week.

The Scots had improved after a slow start in Novi Sad and Jordan Rhodes passed up a half chance before Filip Duricic netted twice to give Serbia a 2-0 victory.

Alan Hutton was caught out with a ball over his head before the opener and Gary Caldwell soon made an inexplicable decision to pass to the right-back instead of clearing to safety as Scotland gifted Serbia a second goal.

The result left Scotland bottom of Group A and followed on from a 2-1 defeat by Wales, when the visitors scored twice in 84 seconds. Strachan told BBC Radio Scotland: "When it's 1-0 you have always got a chance of winning but it seems to happen too often that when one goal comes, a second follows.

"The same thing happened on Friday so if we lose a goal we really need to see that the game's not finished. There's a time in international football the players have to be told. It's a shame for everyone who makes a mistake after putting a lot of good work in. It's not dishonest mistakes.''

There was no realistic chance of Scotland going to Brazil before the game, but the game officially saw them crash out of the World Cup after Group A pace-setters Belgium and Croatia both won. The Scots have just two points from six games following four consecutive defeats but Strachan denied his task was bigger than he initially imagined.

"It was heavy going and I thought technically they were a right good side and physically they were stronger than us,'' Strachan said. "But one thing is they didn't have bigger hearts than us.

"Some of those players out there have not played internationals before, some were playing with injuries, some of them are not getting games for their club. But they took responsibility on their shoulders.''

Strachan added: "It's easy to work on people who are good people. It's not a quick fix to get as strong and as technically gifted as that. But there's lots of things I know I can work on.''