Gordon Strachan ready to expect the unexpected against Malta

04 September 2017 09:24

Manager Gordon Strachan will expect the unexpected when Scotland face Malta in their World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park on Monday night.

The Scots breathed fresh life into their hopes of reaching Russia next summer with a 3-0 win over Lithuania on Friday night and are odds-on to beat the Group F's bottom side in the second match of their Group F double-header

However, Strachan does not believe that anything can be taken for granted.

He said: "However you think a game is going to go, as you lie in your bed as a manager the night before a game, it never ever turns out that way. Never.

"Sometimes you get pleasant surprises, sometimes you get horrible surprises.

"But at the moment, as I look at the players, the way they trained on Sunday, especially the guys who didn't play the other night, I am as confident as I can be.

"But you are always wary, there is always something round the corner to trip you up."

Strachan, however, can certainly be more confident now than at any other time during the campaign.

With three fixtures remaining, Scotland are six points behind England and four behind Slovakia, who meet at Wembley on Monday night.

Scotland are unbeaten in their last three qualifiers and still probably need three wins from their last three Group F games to capture a play-off spot.

But their position is a whole lot healthier than it was when they lost 3-0 to England in London last November to leave them with four points from four games.

Strachan said: ''The belief has always come from the group of players we have got, which has evolved over the last year for different reasons: confidence,

injuries, people playing better, their club sides doing better.

''But I have never had any doubts in the players really, and because we have never had any doubts with each other we could come back from not being in a good place.

''If we didn't believe in ourselves, when you are not on a good place you can't get out of it.

''We have dragged ourselves out of the bad place and we could only have done that if we believed in each other and enjoy working with each other.''

Source: PA