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Čech relieved as Czechs bounce back

Petr Čech told UEFA.com that the Czech Republic showed they had learned from their losing start against Lithuania as they bounced back with a 1-0 home win over Scotland.

The Czech Republic picked up their first points in Group I against Scotland
The Czech Republic picked up their first points in Group I against Scotland ©Getty Images

Petr Čech told UEFA.com that the Czech Republic's losing start to Group I had left them "under pressure", but insisted the lessons learned from their defeat by Lithuania had helped them get back on track.

Michal Bílek's men missed a penalty when they produced a lukewarm display in slipping to a 1-0 loss at home to Lithuania last month. That result lent added importance to Friday's encounter with Scotland in Prague, where Roman Hubník's first competitive goal for his country hoisted the Czechs back into contention.

"We were under pressure before this game because we lost our opening game against Lithuania," said Čech. "We needed to win. Everybody was putting us under pressure because we knew that it was one of the most important games in the group stage. I think we did really well to win it."

Enjoying one of his quietest outings in his nation's colours against a timid Scottish attack, the Chelsea FC goalkeeper joined an increasingly anxious crowd in watching his team-mates fail to convert a number of opportunities. Hubník's 69th-minute header finally relieved the tension in the Czech capital, and eased fears their opening-game disappointment would be repeated.

"I think we put a lot of expectations on ourselves before that first game as we desperately wanted to start well," Čech said. "The last 15 to 20 minutes were very tough for us. We weren't patient, we started forcing things through and we didn't manage to score. This time the experience of the first game made a difference.

"We knew we were playing really well in the first half, creating chances, and we knew if we continued in the same way in the second half that we would have chances. The chance came; perhaps it was the fifth one we'd had, but it went in."

Victory leaves the Czechs three points behind leaders Spain and within touching distance of both Scotland and Lithuania, who are a point ahead of them in second and third spots. With a trip to face section minnows Liechtenstein next up on Tuesday, Čech is now looking for another maximum haul.

"We have to win that game. We are in the group of five, and already the first game didn't go as we would have liked and we dropped three points," he said. "When you play in the group of five, you can't afford to lose more than one game if you want to qualify. We did that in the first game, so we have to keep on winning."