Maloney: Scotland must improve

12 September 2012 05:34

Shaun Maloney has admitted Scotland have no option but to improve if they are to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Manager Craig Levein is coming under increasing pressure after Saturday's 0-0 home draw with Serbia was followed by an even more miserable Hampden display in the 1-1 draw with Macedonia.

The Tartan Army must now travel to October's double-header away to Wales and Belgium with the pressure firmly on their shoulders, with the challenge of Croatia in Group A still to come.

Macedonia took an early lead through Nikolce Noveski before Kenny Miller hit back just before the interval but the Scots were unable to find a winner and there were jeers at the final whistle.

Maloney said: "The dressing room was pretty disappointed at the end but if we improve, we know we can win games.

"The bottom line is whether or not we improve. We will need to if we are going to have any chance of qualifying.

"I don't think our hopes are at an end just yet. It was obviously not the result we wanted, we've just made it very hard for ourselves now to qualify. It's certainly not impossible but it's going to be an uphill task.

"There were a few positives. There were some individual performances that were reasonably good but I think collectively, as a team, we are going to have to improve. If we are going to qualify, then we will need to improve as a team."

Looking ahead to next month's double-header away to Wales and Belgium, he added: "Every game is going to be vital now. We are going to need to win away from home.

"The next gathering in three or four weeks' time is going to be vital for us. It's going to be massive, those two games."

Asked if the players still have belief in the manager - whose record is now three wins from 10 competitive outings - Maloney said: "I don't think it's us who needs to have faith in him, he obviously has to have faith in us and pick us.

"When we draw our first two games, there is going to be criticism. All the players and staff were in it for the results and when they don't come, we have to take the criticism.

"I can only speak for myself but I'm pretty sure the majority of the team ran as much as possible for the manager.

"We do put our heart and soul into it for him and hopefully we will pick up as a team and the results will come. They need to if we are going to qualify."

Source: team_talk