Shaun Maloney believes the Scotland national team has plenty more positivity now than it did 12 months ago.
The Scots are preparing for Tuesdayâ€™s World Cup qualifying clash with Macedonia in Skopje, almost exactly a year after being held to a 1-1 draw by the Balkan side in Glasgow, and Wigan Athleticâ€™s Maloney suggests things are much better under Gordon Strachan than they were with Craig Levein at the helm.
â€śWhen we played Macedonia earlier in the campaign they were a pretty good team. I know we drew but they were probably the better side,â€ť he told the Daily Record.
â€śSo this will be a tough match but we are in a bit of a different place and might be harder to beat.
â€śFor example we struggled to cope with (Goran) Pandev from Napoli last time but a helluva lot of work has been put in by the manager over the last few months in terms of trying to do a lot better defensively and I think that has probably showed.
â€śItâ€™s hard to put the change down to one thing but really itâ€™s been about making us difficult to play against when we donâ€™t have the ball.
â€śAgainst Croatia and England we had less of the ball than the opposition â€“ and rightly so when you see the rankings, theyâ€™re far superior to ours.
â€śSo when we donâ€™t have the ball we have to make it much more difficult for our opponents to break us down.
â€śThatâ€™s come across to me as a player â€“ I donâ€™t know if it has for those watching the game. Weâ€™re certainly trying to make it a lot harder for a team to find those No.10 players in the hole.
â€śItâ€™s difficult because I donâ€™t want to criticise the previous manager but Gordon, in terms of his shape and things like that, is certainly different.
â€śItâ€™s a different type of organisation, the manager has put his own stamp on it, but yeah, the last two games have shown weâ€™re in a better place.â€ť