In Strachan We Trust
Scotland have a new manager but can the team give a new belief in the side with a performance against Wales tonight?
Gordon Strachan is keen to get to "bring it on time" for Scotland's 2014 World Cup qualifier againat Wales at Hampden tonight. This will be Strachan's first competitive game in the role of national manager after opening his account with a 1-0 win over Estonia in a challenge match at Pittodrie last month. Scotland and Wales will both be keen to secure three points tonight to keep their very slim hopes of qualification alive. Scotland are bottom of Group A with two points from four games, one behind Chris Coleman's men who won 2-1 when the two sides met in Cardiff last October. Strachan is desperate to put a week's work on the training ground into practise. Speaking yesterday at the squad's Mar Hall Hotel base, he said : "I am looking forward to it. It is bring it on time now. We have done all the work, let's get the game on now. A result means we feel good about ourselves but a result and a performance means we feel very good about ourselves. But the win is what we are looking for. Results make people feel better. We talk of style and this and that, but as fans and players, we really just want to win. If we get the win and we haven't done well then we can analyse it, but I think we look for a win all the time. We are competitive animals."Strachan was keen to emphasise the trust he has in his squad. He believes that can make a big difference tonight. He went on: "We are going to put trust in 11 players tomorrow. I could trust 26, that's for sure, but unfortunately I can only pick 11 and that has been hard. I have watched them all week and I have enjoyed their enthusiasm. It was good to stand back and watch them this morning. If you can't play football any more there is nothing better than watching good players play. They know which way we want to play, we know which way we want to attack and defend, there are no grey areas. We expect the players we pick to do what they are good at, nothing more and nothing less, within a system that we have been practising all week. The hard bit is picking 11 but it is good to know that there are others that you can trust."The Scotland manager's belief in his squad is rather different that that of his Leeds ex-team-mates, former Wales midfielder Mickey Thomas, who ahs been quoted as saying the ' squad was the "worst" Scotland one ever. The former Aberdeen and Manchester United midfielder was not slow to take a jovial swipe back at Thomas, alluding to the Welshman's involvement in a counterfeit currency scam which landed him in jail. Strachan said: "I played with Mickey and it is a bold statement. To validate that you would need to be about 150 years old and I know Mickey is looking a bit old, but not 150 years old. In saying that, he is liable to have a passport that says 150 years on it...Mickey is always good fun whenever you meet him so I take it with a pinch of salt. But he has definitely livened up the Scottish media for the last day or so."Much of the focus from the Scottish media's point of view this week has been on Gareth Bale, not only because he scored both goals against Scotland in Cardiff. Strachan acknowledged Bale was a "top player" but skirted round the tactics he will deploy to take care of the threat from one man. He said: "From the first day I was in management, you know that no matter who you are playing against, everyone has strengths and weaknesses. We have made people aware of where there might be danger. The players will tell you what we have been working on is a lot to do with what is in our dressing room. The thing is, when the players are in the dressing room tomorrow, they know they can trust each other."
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