Craig Levein: Scotland deserved to beat Republic of Ireland in Home Nations Cup

Defeat in Dublin for the Scots leaves the manager dismayed, but he was grateful for the effort and progress shown by his players after a long season of football

Scotland manager Craig Levein was disappointed to see his team find defeat in their final Home Nations Cup game against the Republic of Ireland as a single goal from Robbie Keane saw the hosts take the trophy.

Levein’s men had their fair share of chances to make their mark on the match, with Phil Bardsley’s storming effort from 30-yards being finger-tipped onto the bar by Shay Given and Kenny Miller putting a good chance wide of the goal late on, shortly after being denied a penalty.

Scotland needed a win to triumph in the competition after both sides arrived at the final game undefeated, but Giovanni Trapatonni’s side started strongly and the opener from the Tottenham striker did not help proceedings for the visitors.

Asked for his feelings after the game, Levein told Sky Sports: “I feel a tinge of disappointment that we didn’t win the match because I think we genuinely deserved to win the game.

“I couldn’t of been happier with the way we played, we made enough chances. In international football you don’t often get chances, but enough to press home the advantage and win.

“Overall I’ve got to look at the bigger picture, though, and the improvement in this team over the last year or so has been quite staggering.

"The lads are disappointed, but I’m thankful for their efforts and I thought they played very well.”

Striker Miller should possibly have won his team a penalty after being brought down in the box by the Republic’s Stephen Hunt, but the referee thought nothing of it, allowing the red mist to descend onto the Bursaspor man and leading to a booking following his strong words to the match official.

Levein was in total agreement with his striker, but was much more calm about the situation.

“Yes, it should have been a penalty, but that happens," he said. "There’ll be a day when we get one and hopefully it’s a day we need it.

"It has been a useful week. The longer you spend together the better I think and you can see the unity in the team out there.

“A lot of them have had a lot of matches and yet you saw the effort that they out in, which for me is a fantastic thing at this time of the season.

“We’ve got a lot of supporters over here, they gave us tremendous backing and I’m just disappointed we couldn’t give them something back in return.”

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