Levein salutes hardy fans

25 May 2011 08:30

Scotland manager Craig Levein has offered his thanks to those members of the Tartan Army who are desperately battling travel problems in a bid to make it to Dublin to support the national team in the Carling Nations Cup.

Air passengers have faced widespread disruption as a result of the volcanic ash cloud, with several flights cancelled on Tuesday amid the chaos.

The Scots are set to face Wales in Dublin on Wednesday night, before taking on the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, and Levein knows thousands of fans are trying to push ahead with their travel plans despite the setbacks. He said: "I must congratulate everybody who is making the attempt to try to get here."

He added: "I know the difficulties we had to get across to Dublin. My compliments and my gratitude go to the Scotland supporters who are valiantly attempting to get here. I'm very grateful and so are the players."

Scotland head into the meeting with Wales having notched up a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland in their opening game in February. Regardless of whether they claim the silverware, Levein insists the get-together is crucial ahead of important Euro 2012 qualifiers at the start of next season.

He said: "It's an opportunity to get time with the players again, for them to spend time together and cement friendships and create a team spirit, which I believe to be essential if we are to be successful and punch above our weight. That's vital, spending time together."

His thoughts were echoed by striker Kenny Miller, who said: "It's another two internationals for the lads. It's a relatively new group that we've got so it's another chance for us to get to know each other and play in a couple of games that, although friendlies, have a bit of added meaning.

"We want to win the games and if it means getting the trophy, that would be great."

And, despite the timing of the tournament, Miller insists every player is up for the two games ahead. He said: "The boys have had a long hard season but we knew these games were coming along and we factored them into the season.

"We know we still have to perform until Sunday and then we can go on holiday. We had a really good result in the first game against Northern Ireland and we would like to build on that. It's another two games to set us up and prepare us for the qualifiers next year."

Source: PA