It was Strachan’s first game in charge since replacing Craig Levein in January and the former Celtic boss will have been pleased with the effort his players showed. Although far from being spectacular, the result and performance provided enough cause for optimism.
Scotland started well and carved out a couple of half-chances early on, with wide man Chris Burke looking particularly sharp early on.
There was an opportunity to put the visitors under pressure when the Scots were handed a free-kick, but Charlie Adam blasted well over from distance.
And although keeper Allan McGregor was forced to make a top class save from Taijo Teniste’s swerving 30- yard effort, Scotland had a great chance of their own when Burke delivered a cross which Steven Fletcher nodded just over, before Maloney saw his shot blocked by keeper Sergei Pareiko.
The breakthrough finally came after 38 minutes when Scotland surged into the lead with a move straight from the training ground after Shaun Maloney was fouled by Igor Morozov.
Rather than curl the ball into the box, Adam rolled the resultant free-kick to Mulgrew, who pulled away from the pack in the goalmouth to slot home the opener.
Pareiko then had to respond smartly to deny Alan Hutton’s drive at the near post as the home side pressed for another goal before the break.
Strachan made two changes at half-time, with Jordan Rhodes and Robert Snodgrass replacing Maloney and Burke, who had both impressed.
Rhodes almost made his mark on the game with a hooked effort which dipped just over the crossbar.
The hosts almost paid dearly for missed chances when Gert Kams dragged his shot wide late on, but Scotland held on.
Scotland World Cup 2012 Qualifying Matches
22 Mar: Scotland v Wales – Scotland v Wales Tickets
06 Sept: Scotland v Belgium – Scotland v Belgium Tickets
15 Oct: Scotland v Croatia – Scotland v Croatia Tickets
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