LONDON (Reuters) - Scotland manager Gordon Strachan always felt his side would find the breakthrough against Slovakia as they recorded a dramatic late victory to keep alive their World Cup hopes on Thursday.
After hitting the woodwork twice and seeing Slovakia keeper Martin Dubravka make a number of superb saves, Scotland netted the winner with two minutes left to secure a 1-0 win.
Former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel turned the ball past his own keeper to help Scotland move up to second in Group F and ensure a victory over Slovenia on Sunday will secure a playoff place.
“I was not too bad as I genuinely thought we were going to score a goal. It would have been a huge disappointment if we didn’t and that was some performance,” Strachan said.
“There was no doubt about the man of the match and it was their goalkeeper who was magnificent - and the crossbar was good as well!
“The 14 boys changed the result from a draw into a victory. It says a lot about our fitness as well. We had all these great performances and the footballing gods have decided to give us a victory,” Strachan added.
“I am going to enjoy this for about an hour and a half and then I will think about it (Slovenia game) tomorrow morning. That is what we have looked at it - forget about the Slovenia game until this is over.”
Scotland captain Darren Fletcher had nothing but praise for his team mates.
The former Manchester United midfielder suffered a nasty ear injury but is hoping to be fit for the game on Sunday.
“When you keep creating chances you know you are going to get more,” Fletcher said.
“We were patient. It doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there in the end.
“When a team goes down to 10 men you have got to wear them down - we did that. It does make it tricky but credit to the lads. We kept passing the ball, we stuck with it, the crowd was behind us,” Fletcher added.
“My ear is half hanging off and I will have to get it stitched back together. It is lucky I don’t have to worry about my looks.”
Reporting by Marc Isaacs, editing by Ed Osmond