Caldwell not discouraged
Gary Caldwell says Scotland can still clinch second place in their qualifying group despite Friday's defeat.
Last Updated: 09/10/10 2:44pm
Gary Caldwell is adamant Scotland can still clinch second place in their Euro 2012 qualifying group, despite their Czech Republic defeat.
Craig Levein's men were seen off 1-0 by their Group I opponents in Prague on Friday night, marking their first loss of the campaign.
The Scots next face the daunting task of hosting Spain at Hampden Park on Tuesday but defender Caldwell insists his side's latest defeat has not derailed their chances.
"We are still on course for finishing second," he said.
"That was probably always the objective. Spain on Tuesday is a game we will go into and give everything.
"Everyone in the world wouldn't expect us to get anything and that's when Scotland are usually at their best. So we can have a right go on Tuesday night."
Levein opted for a controversial defensive formation in Prague, with in-form striker Kenny Miller left on the bench until the last 15 minutes.
However, Wigan man Caldwell has defended the coach's tactics, insisting they very nearly paid off for his side.
"I thought it worked very well. They looked very frustrated, you could see that in their play, and I don't think they had many chances," he said.
"In the second half, they started to get a few more efforts and Allan McGregor made some good saves.
"But it was working, it was 0-0 and a point would have been a great result. It was just disappointing to lose from a set-piece."
Asked if he was surprised when Levein revealed his system to the players, Caldwell replied: "Not at all. He's got to pick a team that he thinks can get a result.
"For 70 minutes we were getting the result we wanted and that's his decision. I think it was working.
"We worked on it all week in training, we watched videos and we understood what we were doing."
Miller and Chris Iwelumo were both thrown on with Scotland trailing and unsuccessfully tried to salvage the score, but Caldwell insists there was no sense of frustration afterwards about not attacking the Czechs earlier in the match.
He said: "I think there is just frustration at the result. We felt we could have got something here and we didn't.
"That's the only frustration the players and everyone in the dressing room has got."
Caldwell has yet to play a first-team match for the Latics this term after recovering from two bouts of surgery on his hip, and the stopper was pleased to make it to the last 15 minutes on Friday.
"I felt tired as the game wore on but I think that's only natural," he said.
"But I gave it everything I had and the manager took me off probably after a little bit longer than I thought I would have lasted. I'm quite happy."