Caldwell - Time to break run
Gary Caldwell admits it is about time Scotland ended their absence from major tournaments, with past failures providing all the motivation they need.
Last Updated: 07/09/12 2:37pm
Gary Caldwell admits it is about time Scotland ended their lengthy absence from major tournaments, with past struggles providing all the motivation they need.
Failure to qualify for Euro 2012 means 14 years have now passed since the Scots last graced the business end of an international event.
That is considered too long for a country with a rich footballing history.
Craig Levein and his 2014 World Cup hopefuls intend to break the barren run in their latest qualifying campaign, with a home date with Serbia on Saturday set to see them take their first tentative steps on the road to Brazil.
"With every campaign that goes by the next one becomes more important and as a group of players we have to live with that, it is down to us," said national skipper Caldwell, who will pick up his 50th cap at Hampden Park.
"We have been part of the campaigns that have failed but that only drives you on to want it even more.
"So we have to use the pain of the last campaign and take it into this one and make sure it doesn't happen again.
"Personnel probably hasn't changed a great deal but the manager knows the group a lot better than he did in the last campaign, he knows what tactics suit us.
"So we are far better prepared to go into the qualifying campaign than the last time.
"It is going to be a difficult game. Serbia are technically and physically gifted and we will need to be on our toes to stop them."
The absence of several key men from the Scotland squad means Wigan centre-half Caldwell may once again be asked to provide cover in midfield, a position he hoped he had seen the last of following a 3-1 friendly victory over Australia in August.
He said: "I still don't fancy it, but I am comfortable with it.
"I have played a lot of positions throughout my career and first and foremost I am a centre-half, that's my best position.
"But I have always said that if the manager wants me to do a job, whether it be midfield or wherever, then I will do my best to bring something to the team that helps us win the game."