Mulgrew ready for any challenge

09 October 2013 09:16

Charlie Mulgrew claims playing against Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta for Celtic has given him the confidence to face anyone when he pulls on a Scotland strip ahead of next Tuesday night's final 2014 World Cup Group A qualifier against Croatia at Hampden.

Mulgrew is a left-back by trade but has been used in the engine room by Hoops boss Neil Lennon and Strachan in recent games, and he found himself up against two of the best midfielders in world football when Celtic lost 1-0 to Barca in their Champions League clash at Parkhead earlier in the month.

Asked if that experience had given him the belief that he could play against any midfield, including that of Croatia, whose playmaker is Real Madrid's Luka Modric, Mulgrew said: "Of course, it gives you confidence.

"Different players pose different challenges and playing against the types of players I played against last week, Xavi and Iniesta, the challenge with them is to get a kick of the ball.

"But it gives you a lot of confidence and you have to take that into international football.

"Playing against Croatia, there is Luka Modric and other players like that who are world class.

"That (playing against Xavi and Iniesta) can only help and give you the belief that you can compete with these types of players, hopefully do well and get results.

"In the last couple of games I have played in centre midfield for club and country with Scott Brown but I don't know what the manager is thinking for the Croatia game, we will have to wait and see."

Scotland have no chance of making the finals in Brazil next summer but go into the game on the back of a 2-1 away win over Macedonia and with the knowledge that they beat Croatia 1-0 when the two sides met in Zagreb in June.

Mulgrew is looking to finish the campaign with a double over the Croats with a view to the next qualifying campaign, the 2016 Euros, which will begin next year.

Source: PA