The national team manager resisted any attempts to engage Igor Stimac, the coach of this evening's opponents Croatia, in a slanging match and deftly moved away from a bid to lure him into comments on the prospects of England qualifying for the World Cup. Instead, he spoke of his determination to ward off an unwanted statistic for Scotland, who face a winless qualification campaign at home for the first time in 60 years if Croatia are not defeated tonight.
Stimac has described the Group A encounter as "a training session" for his side who are effectively confirmed a play-off place. Strachan was relaxed about the statement. "He can have any comments he wants. I like Igor, a nice fella," said Strachan. "It depends if he said training or experimenting. Experiment is different from training. I look forward to seeing him. He organises his team well and we wish him all the best in the play-offs."
Asked about England's prospects of qualifying, with Roy Hodgson's side facing Poland tonight, Strachan replied: "You are confusing me with someone who is bothered about that."
The manager's attention is focused on his selection for tonight's match. He is likely to name Charlie Mulgrew at left-back in the absence of the injured Lee Wallace and play Steven Naismith as his central striker.
Strachan, though, has a difficult decision to make over who to play as a winger. The debate comes down to whether Chris Burke of Birmingham City or Ikechi Anya of Watford is his best option, with the manager highly unlikely to pick both. "It's difficult to play with two out and out wingers," he said. "One needs to be able to come in the park and make sure you are not outnumbered. I have a wee dilemma."
Anya, after his impressive display against Macedonia, would be the favourite for the fans but Strachan insisted: "I won't pick the team just for the hype. I pick the team that I think is right."
He pointed out that Gary Pendrey, his former assistant at Celtic, and Harry Redknapp, manager of Queens Park Rangers, had both been highly complimentary about Burke's recent performances.
Strachan admitted that he was seeking to remove "the monkey from the back" in terms of the Hampden winless run ahead of the Euro 2016 campaign but added: "We have never really had all the players right at the same time. When everyone is fit I would imagine that our home form would be a bit better."
Stimac, speaking last night, also chose to avoid further controversy, praising Strachan and suggesting he is the man to lead Scotland to a major finals. "You can expect good things with Gordon," he said. "He is a key man for your success. You can already see that he is constructing the team for the next qualifiers.
"Before him, you didn't look well to be honest. I wasn't happy that the last manager was going and Gordon came in. I knew changes would be made and your team would perform in a different way and he is putting things in the right place."
With nine players on yellow cards, including Luka Modric, Vedran Corluka, Mario Mandzukic and Niko Kranjcar, Stimac has to make a decision on whether to risk any of them being suspended for the first leg of the play-offs. The Croatian coach would not be drawn on his selection but he did explain what he had meant when he said he was treating the game as "a training session."
He said: "I meant that we have a chance to try a few things here because there are two play-off games after the game against Scotland. I would never underestimate anybody, especially not Scotland, the team who beat us in Zagreb. We will try to win the game."