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Gordon Strachan devastated but proud of his Scotland side

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Gordon Strachan could not see past his pride and desperate disappointment for his players after Scotland's European Championship hopes vanished in the cruellest of fashion.

Scotland were seconds away from a 2-1 victory over Poland which would have kept them in the hunt for a play-off place after wonderful goals from Matt Ritchie and Steven Fletcher overturned Robert Lewandowski's early opener.

But Lewandowski helped scramble home an equaliser with the last kick of the ball four minutes into injury time at Hampden after a poorly-struck free-kick took a deflection off Grant Hanley, bounced off the post and spun across the goal line.

The 2-2 draw was compounded by the fact that the Republic of Ireland shocked Germany in Dublin to eliminate Scotland.

When asked to sum up his feelings, Strachan said: "If I'm like the rest of the nation, I'm hugely disappointed for the players. I've seen a group of lads give as much as they can give.

"I actually feel a bit sorry for them. To put that much work in and score two wonderful goals, I'm really proud of what they have done."

Strachan added: "You couldn't call the second (Poland goal) brilliant - it was more like American football, a Hail Mary, just chuck it in there and hope for the best.

"Sometimes there's not a lot you can do about that. It takes a horrendous deflection, hits the post and comes back the way."

Strachan pointed to the first-half goals Germany scored last month, a deflected effort and a rebound off the post.

"It's very hard to play against that but our guys did, they came back twice against Germany and came back here and took the lead," he said. "That's some going against top, top players.

"After working hard for a year, and then something like that happens in the last seconds of a game. That's over a year's work. I can't remember us getting anything lucky ourselves, everything we have got has been really earned."

When asked to assess what went wrong over the campaign, Strachan said: "I've got to say that I really can't be bothered speaking about it just now. I'm not going to disguise it, I don't want to speak about it.

"For me to sit here and pontificate about what went wrong is unfair to everybody in that dressing room. My thoughts are with them at the moment and the coaching staff and everyone who has helped us, to get to a point where we're 2-1 up and really proud of the way we were playing against a top side."

Strachan's own future is unclear as his contract expires following the campaign, which ends against Gibraltar in Faro on Sunday, but he was in no mood to address that topic.

"Again, that is really unfair because there are guys in there hurting and for me to talk about myself is wrong," he said.

"They are the priority at the moment, those guys in there. To talk about me is all wrong. I will leave that to other people.

"I have people in this building hurting and I need to look after them."

Poland head coach Adam Nawalka felt his side were the better team and deserved their last-gasp luck.

"I had a lot of faith in my team," Nawalka said. "Sometimes in games like that you feel a point means more to us than a win.

"We did our homework but never thought Scotland would play such a fantastic game. We knew we faced a difficult game and had to focus on the centre of the pitch and that was why we were so fired up at the beginning. Things changed but we are an ambitious side and we got the point.

"If you work very hard, you get your luck."

Poland now face a shoot-out in Warsaw against the Republic with the pair locked on 18 points. Ireland will go above them if they win or score two goals or more in a draw.

When asked about the Irish win over Germany, Nawalka said: "I only found out a few minutes before the end and the players had no idea.

"In games like this that are so even, you are only concerned with what's going on here, not elsewhere."

Nawalka revealed both forward Arkadiusz Milik and left-back Maciej Rybus would be assessed on Friday after going off with injuries.

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