Strachan ready for Scots' pitch battle in qualifier

Ruben Hill
August 30, 2017

McGregor has been in outstanding form for his club both domestically and in Europe for some time now and it has been hard to see why Gordon Strachan doesn't want him involved in some capacity, even as a substitute, in Vilnius in Friday evening regardless of the strength in depth in his position.

Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee has urged his players to roll their sleeves up and secure four consecutive victories to ensure World Cup qualification.

McGhee feels that Stuart Armstrong and Leigh Griffiths could make the difference for their country in a match he conceded they have to win to stand any chance of progressing to the World Cup finals next summer.

"He's got a great move back but he hasn't performed the way they [Leipzig] would have hoped and I don't know what has happened that..." He's been the best player in midfield in the Championship.

"I never saw Brendan's comments". He has got every right to do that.

"[Brendan Rodgers] also said he respects my decision". He's not cutting off his nose to spite his face.

Gordon Strachan's side have been showing improvement of late and we are backing them to win in Vilnius. We can't hide from that. Sitting four points behind second-placed Slovakia, Scotland will probably have to win all the remaining games if they are to make it to the play-offs, but does not seem a mission impossible.

"But I go back to the first Lithuania game". Fast forward 23 years and the national team have yet to qualify for a major global competition, with two third-place finishes in the qualifying groups their best results yet.

McManus recently announced his retirement from the professional game and has stepped back into a coaching role with Motherwell after being told he would not get regular playing time this season, but played down a question about whether he could one day see himself working with the global setup. So I think we're a better team than we were before. Have they seen Tom Cairney playing for Fulham?

'He said: 'Well, you're not playing games and you can't be happy not playing games. These are things I have to think about.

"I understand managers want their players in the squad but they have to understand the type of players I need for these games". But his performance was excellent.

He said: "What you want is to fill your national team with a winning mentality and (players who) are comfortable with playing in big competitions and big games". "The surfaces are now good".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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