Hungary 0-1 Scotland: Matt Phillips seals first win of Alex McLeish's second tenure
Last Updated: 28/03/18 6:47am
Alex McLeish claimed the first win of his second spell as Scotland manager with a 1-0 victory over Hungary in Budapest on Tuesday.
Matt Phillips' first international goal three minutes into the second half proved enough for the Scots as they ended the international break on a high following Friday's defeat to Costa Rica.
There would have been further gloss on the victory had Charlie Mulgrew converted a first-half penalty, but there were plenty of positives for McLeish to draw upon as he sets his sights on September's UEFA Nations League campaign.
Hungary: Gulacsi (6), Fiola (5), Otigba (5), Lovrencsics (7), Hangya (5), Pinter (5), Kleinheisler (5), Dzsudzsak (7), Varga (6), Guzmics (6), Szalai (6).
Subs: Szabo (5), Nikolic (5), Nemeth (5), Elek (5), Patkai (5), Bode (5).
Scotland: McGregor (7), Hendry (7), Mulgrew (5), McKenna (7), Fraser (7), Armstrong (6), McGinn (6), Robertson (7), McGregor (6), Forrest (6), Phillips (8).
Subs: Christie (5), McBurnie (5), Paterson (5), Cummings (n/a), McLean (5), Douglas (5).
Man of the Match: Matt Phillips.
Scotland took some time to settle into a rhythm on a bumpy surface at the Groupama Arena and Allan McGregor made a good stop from a Balazs Dzsudzsak free-kick 20 minutes in.
The visitors were gifted a chance to go ahead in the 40th minute following a clumsy challenge on Ryan Fraser by Laszlo Kleinheisler, but Peter Gulacsi threw himself to his left to push away Mulgrew's firmly-hit spot-kick.
Forrest soon had a chance from Scott McKenna's cross but could not get hold of his first-time effort and the goalkeeper made a more comfortable save.
The penalty save had fired up the hosts though and Scotland needed Andy Robertson to be in the right place to stop Richard Guzmics' header going inside the far post following a corner seconds before half-time.
Scotland took the lead inside three minutes of the restart when Phillips met Fraser's cross and fired home first time from eight yards.
Scotland remained on top but had a warning on the hour mark when Roland Varga was allowed to work his way inside and loop a long-range strike which McGregor tipped over.
Jack Hendry made his Scotland debut and Ryan Fraser made his first international start in Budapest. Allan McGregor, Charlie Mulgrew, Scott McKenna and Andrew Robertson were the only players to retain their positions as Alex McLeish made seven changes following Friday’s defeat to Costa Rica.
Mulgrew gifted possession to striker Adam Szalai with 20 minutes remaining but McGregor came to his captain's rescue, blocking the one on one before the Hungary striker flicked Gergo Lovrencsics' driven cross agonisingly wide in the next passage of play.
After that scare, though, Scotland kept their shape and saw out the victory relatively comfortably.
- This was Scotland first victory in six friendlies since beating Denmark 1-0 in March 2016 (D1 L4).
- Eight of Scotland's last 10 friendlies have ended in a 1-0 scoreline, with the Tartan Army winning five and losing three in those instances.
- Alex McLeish has won three of his four friendlies as Scotland manager (L1); again all of these matches have seen just one goal scored.
- Hungary have lost five of their last eight home international games (W3), including each of their last two.
- Matt Phillips scored his first international goal for Scotland in what was his 11th appearance for the side.
- Charlie Mulgrew's saved penalty was Scotland's first miss from the spot since Barry Bannan v Croatia in October 2013.
Alex McLeish: "It was great to see us finally put the ball in the back of the net and we by and large controlled the game. We played to a very decent level. Tonight there was a wee bit of familiarity and there were outstanding performances from young players that we believe have got a great future."
Alex McLeish's squad will join up for friendlies against World Cup hopefuls Peru and Mexico in May and June respectively. Hungary, meanwhile, will take on Australia before they head to this summer's tournament in Russia.