Excited Blackburn Rovers defender looking forward
4:20pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in Sport
BLACKBURN Rovers centre back Grant Hanley cut a delighted figure after he helped Scotland end their World Cup qualifying campaign on a high.
The 21-year-old played the full 90 minutes as Gordon Strachan’s improving side beat Croatia 2-0 at Hampden Park on Tuesday night.
The victory ensured Scotland completed the double over play-off bound Croatia having won the reverse fixture between the sides in Zagreb in June.
Hanley, who also played in that match, was delighted to end the campaign on a winning note and is looking forward to the start of the qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 – when 24 teams will contest the final stages.
Defender Hanley said: “To get a clean sheet at home to Croatia and to win 2-0 speaks for itself really.
“We are pleased with our night, it is a good result and a good end to the campaign.
“We can look forward to what comes now.”
Hanley came out on top in a battle with former Rovers team-mate Nikola Kalinic.
Kalinic was taken off just before the hour mark and replaced by former Arsenal forward Eduardo.
Hanley said: “Niko was in the first team just as I was coming up through the ressies.
“He’s a good lad Niko so it was nice to see him again.”
Hanley’s performance was also praised by his centre-back partner Russell Martin.
The Norwich City defender said: “Grant is only young but he has been brilliant and hopefully it is a relationship that we can keep building on and take into the next campaign.”
The win ensured Scotland leapfrogged Wales into fourth in the final Group A standings.
Belgium won the group and with it automatic qualification to next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Croatia, who sacked Igor Stimac after the defeat, finished second and enter next month’s play-offs.
Hanley will sit out Rovers’ next three matches through suspension having been sent off at Wigan Athletic last time out.
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