Peterhead boss Jim McInally has backed Gordon Strachan to get it right on this evening as the nation prepares for a World Cup Qualifying showdown versus Slovakia at Hampden Park.
The 53-year-old said on Tuesday:
“This is it – it is last chance saloon. I am sure Gordon [Strachan – Scotland manager] will be aware of that and that there is no point leaving anything behind. I am sure that’ll come into his thinking tactically or whatever as this is a must-win game. He will know it will be tough: I watched the full 90 minutes when Slovakia played England at Wembley and I thought they looked a decent side that played a lot of good football; they are a decent side.”
“Everybody was speaking about Celtic having to get into the Champions League,” continues McInally, “well I think this is bigger…this would keep the nation on a rise and the game on a rise as well. A win would just give the country a boost that is required. To get into the play-offs and give ourselves a chance of qualifying is really what the country needs, again.”
The former Scotland international, who gained 10 caps for his country, believes Strachan has the tactical nous to seal a big victory tonight.
“I am sure Gordon will have thought about this game for a long time now. I suppose that is a downside of being a national manager is that he has a long time to think about things. He will have thought about certain scenarios and then to be told this play is unavailable, that player isn’t available, then to have to draft players in, his psyche will be changing all of the time. He will get it right – that is one of Gordon’s biggest strengths for me. He isn’t daft; he will know Slovakia aren’t going to be treated as a side who they can just go out there and have a go at – but there will come a stage in the game when they will need to go for it and that is when he will have another formation or a substitution up his sleeve.”
Despite Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong being injured, the Blue Toon boss believes the Scots have enough cover in the middle of the park.
“Stuart Armstrong, John McGinn and Callum McGregor are all similar type players – goal scoring midfielders who get from middle to front. Scott Brown can obviously be replaced by Darren Fletcher who is plying his trade at the highest level. I have read online that Gordon has said it was an easy decision to pick Callum – I know he has been criticised in the past for leaving him out but he has had guys fit such as Stuart Armstrong but now he is injured, he knows he has got these guys to come in and replace them; there is goals in them and that can only bode well for the team.”