Scotland v Costa Rica: Alex McLeish makes second Scotland bow
By Ron Walker
Last Updated: 23/03/18 6:41pm
Alex McLeish makes his return as Scotland manager when the Tartan Army host Costa Rica at Hampden Park on Friday, live on Sky Sports.
The 59-year-old will be in the dugout just over 10 years since he last took charge of his country, at the end of a reign which still gives him the highest win percentage of any permanent Scotland manager in history.
He rejoined his home nation last month after their unsuccessful World Cup 2018 qualification bid, missing out on a play-off place to Slovakia on goal difference, and wants the country to regain a "swagger" under his reign.
His first test comes against a Costa Rica side gearing up for a second straight World Cup tournament, having qualified second in the North American standings behind Mexico.
"I've felt in recent years that we maybe haven't had that swagger," McLeish said.
"I don't think that's the only difference we want to try and make. We went through the last year undefeated and we were so close to the play-offs, but we have got to find a way to go one better than that.
"Very often you get young players coming in and playing with no inhibitions whatsoever, and maybe a part of your career comes along when you start thinking about everything. I want them to be clear in their minds, that there is only one mission here, and that's to play at their top level."
Kieran Tierney is missing with a calf injury, leaving Charlie Mulgrew to captain Scotland for the first time in his absence. The rest of McLeish's squad are all fit to play, with nine players looking to make their debuts.
- This will be just the second international meeting between these two teams, with Costa Rica winning 1-0 in their only previous clash in the 1990 World Cup.
- McLeish played 90 minutes in the aforementioned World Cup game between Scotland and Costa Rica.
- Costa Rica have lost their last three matches by an aggregate score of 1-8.
- Scotland have lost just one of their last nine home games, winning four and drawing four.
- Scotland are winless in their last four friendlies (D1 L3), their longest winless run in non-competitive matches since November 2009 under George Burley (6).