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By ESPN Staff

Levein relieved as Scotland beat Czech Republic

Craig Levein has revealed pre-match nerves ahead of his first game as Scotland manager were the reason for his lack of celebrations when Scott Brown grabbed the winner against Czech Republic on Wednesday night.

Levein starts new chapter

Celtic skipper Brown netted the only goal of the game to hand Levein victory in his maiden outing as national team boss - and hand the Scots their first friendly win at Hampden in 14 years.

When asked about a lack of emotion when the ball hit the back of the net with just over an hour gone, the Levein said: "To be honest, I've been very nervous for the last couple of days. Maybe it's because I haven't been involved on the touchline for three months but I take great pride in the fact that I'm the Scotland manager and it means a lot to me.

"The last couple of days I've felt more nervous than I would normally do. When we scored, it was more relief than anything else and I was still trying to concentrate on the game and see if we could get through to the end and get the victory.

"I'm not kidding myself on here - it's a result in a friendly game. The most important thing for us is when the qualifying games come around. If we are in a situation when we need a goal to qualify for the European Championship, then you might see a different face."

It was also a memorable night for Kris Boyd, who ended his self-imposed international exile when he took to the pitch as a second-half substitute.

The Rangers striker refused to be considered for selection under previous boss George Burley and Wednesday's match was his first outing for Scotland in 18 months.

Levein had expected a mixed response to his return from the Tartan Army but thanked them for a largely positive reaction.

"It didn't seem to me that there were many people booing him or anything like that. Maybe I just didn't hear it. I was pleased with the reception he got and I thought he played well when he came on. I thank the supporters for the way they handled the situation.

"I'd say to anybody, if they had sat with me when I spoke to Kris two or three months ago, I looked in his eye and I could tell 100% that he desperately wanted to play for Scotland.

"I knew that and I wanted him to come back in and he wanted to come back. I had to deal with this, and he has had to deal with this, for the last three months.

"Now that he has come on and has had a decent reception, I'm hoping we can get on with things now."

Boyd failed to mark his return with a goal, with Brown the unlikely goal hero instead - just days after his red card disappointment in the Old Firm derby defeat to Rangers.

Levein said: "One of the difficulties of managing the national team is that you don't get to know the players as well as you would do if you were a club manager, so I'm not the man to ask if Scott Brown was in any way different to what he would normally be.

"I felt he was bubbly and good in training and he was good around the hotel. Whether he was any different than normal, I couldn't tell you. What I can tell you is the goal has done him the world of good."

Meanwhile, Czech Republic boss Michal Bilek insists Scotland will see a different side when both teams met again in the European Championship qualifiers.

He said: "It's a shame we didn't succeed because we were the better team. But we didn't manage to score the goal and Scotland had one attack and managed to beat us.

"Today's game wasn't for real so when it comes to qualification it will be a different story."


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