ALEX McLeish refused to be drawn on his future as Scotland manager last night after his team slumped to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan here in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier.

The national team performed poorly in their first Group I game in the Astana Arena and suffered a loss that reduces their chances of finishing in the top two in their section and qualifying automatically.

Callum McGregor and his team mates were booed and jeered by the Tartan Army footsoldiers who had made the long journey to Central Asia following the final whistle.

Evening Times: Alex McLeish cuts a dejected figureAlex McLeish cuts a dejected figure

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The display and result will increase pressure on McLeish even though he led the country to a Euro 2020 play-off spot in the Nations League back in November.

However, the 60-year-old, who was without a host of important and experienced players, was unprepared to talk about his position and insisted Scotland can recover and go through.

“Suffice to say I’m not going to get drawn into that question,” he said when asked about his future following the game. “I will just continue to do my job.

“I don’t really rank defeats. I just feel in terms of losing I have to bounce back. I always feel low after a game, but I’m pretty good at bouncing back.”

McLeish added: “It’s never finished until it’s finished. We bounced back from a poor performance in Israel (in the Nations League in Haifa in October) and that’s what we must do after this game.

“We have other players to come back, players with more experience who have to come back to the Scotland squad. Obviously, we need to have as strong a squad as we can if we’re going to be strong in qualification.”

The average age of the Scotland team last night was, following the retirement of Allan McGregor and the loss of Steven Fletcher and Charlie Mulgrew, less than 25.

McLeish, who was without his captain Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney, admitted he was bitterly disappointed with how his charges acquitted themselves, but argued their were mitigating circumstances.

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“It was a poor performance on the night,” he said. “We tried to tighten up on certain things we looked at in the previous games where we won with two really good performances.

“We’re still trying to perfect things a lot of young guys plying their trades with first caps an early caps and we've lost a few players.

“There is a lot of inexperience in the squad. We have introduced a few new names in the last year or so and it’s a process where it can take time, but I know we don’t have any time.

“I want to get these lads playing to the level that we demand on the international scene, but it’s not easy for players to come from no experience straight into the international team.”

McLeish continued: “We never reacted to the two goals. Getting inside us was something we emphasised to the players, but we never actually saw it through in reality.”

“It could have been prevented. Suffice to say that, with better positioning. It never happened. Disappointed at losing, their three finishes were pretty amazing, but it was a poor night for us defensively and I say that as a team.”

McLeish felt the artificial surface in the Astana Arena contributed to Scotland’s poor showing, but he paid tribute to the quality of the Kazakhstan display.

Evening Times: James Forrest is crowded out by Kazakh playersJames Forrest is crowded out by Kazakh players

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“I think we played a little bit slow at times,” he said. “We did emphasise the need to play faster and take as few touches as possible I think we ran with the ball too much and never passed it swiftly enough if we’re talking technical terms.

“Kazakhstan were first to the second balls. We never did what is probably a famous trait for British teams: getting second balls.”

“On the night they certainly played extremely well, but we didn’t do ourselves justice as regards what I feel these players can give.

“Give credit to Kazakhstan, they were very sharp tonight, when they scored the first couple of goals, we had one chances before they scored and I thought it was looking quite lively for us and then it was two goals in 12 minutes and it was a mountain to climb after that and we never really got into gear again.”