GLASGOW, Nov 18 (Reuters) Manager Alex McLeish picked over the wreckage of Scotland's failed Euro 2008 campaign and stressed the experience would benefit the team for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
Christian Panucci's injury-time header following a controversial free kick gave Italy a 2-1 win yesterday and ended Scotland's hopes of making the finals.
''Let's move forward because we have given the Scottish game a shot in the arm,'' McLeish told reporters.
''This squad of players has years ahead of it. With each week that passes they are going to grow in stature and technical ability.
''You hope with the education of it and the experience of it, that it will enhance players in terms of their mentality and they certainly showed a lot of ability at times throughout this campaign,'' he added.
Luca Toni put Italy ahead after two minutes and Scotland equalised after the break through Barry Ferguson who appeared to be offside.
Scottish newspapers devoted dozens of pages and pullouts to the Group B clash, peppered with pictures of tear-stained fans.
The Sunday Mail's front page was emblazoned with the headline ''Robbed'' accompanied by a picture of disconsolate striker James McFadden applauding supporters.
''Agony as last minute blunder by referee ends our dream,'' the paper said while the back page carried the headline: ''They've done us proud''.
The front of the Scottish Sunday Express read ''Crying in the rain'' and The News of the World said ''We're proud of you lads''.
Scotland will finish in third place in the group on 24 points behind leaders Italy and second-placed France, who have both qualified with a game still to play.
REUTERS AB KN1956