Blogs & Opinion


A win against Estonia is exactly what new coach Gordon Strachan and Scotland need, says Andy Walker

Features - Andy Walker Posted 4th February 2013 view comments

Following the failure of Craig Levein to realise Scotland's dream of qualifying for a major finals for the first time since France 1998, the hopes of a nation now rest with his successor as national team manager, Gordon Strachan.

Assisted by former internationals Mark McGhee and Motherwell boss Stuart McCall, Strachan will accept that being bottom of Group A after four games leaves us with little chance of being involved in Brazil World Cup 2014.

Steven Fletcher: back in the fold

Steven Fletcher: back in the fold

The former Aberdeen, Man Utd & Leeds Utd star makes his debut as international boss in a friendly against Estonia on Wednesday night at Pittodrie and he certainly understands the importance of getting back to winning ways.

It's painful for every Scot to see us rooted at the bottom of a World Cup qualifying group consisting of Wales, Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia and Belgium with just two points from four games. But in order to give ourselves the best possible chance of qualification for the European Championships in France 2016, we have to start winning again to gain some much-needed credibility.

The expansion of France 2016 means we'll never have a better chance of taking part in a major finals and I still maintain there's a core group of players who give us cause for optimism. Perhaps the friendly with Estonia will give the Scotland support some hope for the immediate future.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

SCOTLAND v ESTONIA

7.30pm, Wed, Sky Sports 1 HD

The expansion of France 2016 means we'll never have a better chance of taking part in a major finals and I still maintain there's a core group of players who give us cause for optimism. Perhaps the friendly with Estonia will give the Scotland support some hope for the immediate future.

Solid squad

Ideally, some new emerging talent will give us all a lift but the majority seem to be in forward areas. Thankfully Steven Fletcher is back in the fold following his immature bust-up with Craig Levein, Jordan Rhodes looks eager to please and Dundee Utd pair Johnny Russell & Gary Mackay-Steven will get their chance soon enough.

Experienced players such as Gary Caldwell and Andy Webster still have something to offer and it's not outrageous to think we'll be able to build some momentum for the World Cup qualifiers next month with a convincing victory over a side at 83 in the FIFA World Rankings.

With plenty of English based players capable of consistently high performances in the Premier League and others who have played regularly in the Champions League, Strachan has already highlighted the need to find a suitable system that the players will be comfortable with and that excites the fans.

Despite the bitterness surrounding Levein's departure from his post as national boss, the squad get on well together and Strachan will realise rocket science is not required to turn things around. We're certainly better than our current position, bottom of a group without a win after four games.

I think Gordon Strachan & Mark McGhee can quickly get the players onside with their natural enthusiasm for the game and a win over Estonia should set us up nicely for their full competitive double-header debut against Wales at Hampden followed by Serbia away in March.

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