Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Scotland stay positive ahead of Spain match

Assistant manager Peter Houston insisted negativity has not invaded the Scotland camp as they prepare to welcome World and European champions Spain to Hampden tomorrow night.

Even before Friday's defeat by the Czech Republic in Prague, most Scotland supporters did not expect Craig Levein's side to take anything from the Spain game.

But his No2 Houston countered: “I don't think players have that mind-set. Players always think they are good enough to take something from a game.

“You look at some of our players. Rangers have done really well in Europe recently, getting to the UEFA Cup final a couple of years ago and the majority of players are still there.

“Darren Fletcher regularly plays against that level of team so the players have a lot of pride and determination and we will go out as positive as we can.

“It will be difficult, we know that because not many teams beat the world champions but with the positivity of the players, we hope we can take something on Tuesday.”

Tottenham full-back Alan Hutton, Wigan defender Gary Caldwell, West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans and Rangers utility man Steven Whittaker were not risked in yesterday's training session but Houston was confident that “the majority, if not all” would be available for selection.

Caldwell played 75 minutes in Prague on Friday, his first action of the season for club or country following a hip operation, and Houston did not rule out the former Celtic man making back-to-back appearances — despite Wigan manager Roberto Martinez claiming his player was not fit for two games in quick succession.

Houston said: “Caldwell has been feeling good. He's been out for a while but nobody knows his body better than the player himself. He was very keen to do something and although he has not played a lot, he's certainly put himself up for selection.”

Dorrans is nursing a hamstring problem while Barry Robson is suspended, but there was some good news as Manchester United midfielder Fletcher, who took a knock in Prague, was fit to train yesterday.

Houston also offered a robust defence of the 4-6-0 formation used by Craig Levein in Friday's defeat, claiming it was a “great strategy” which could be repeated in the future.

Asked if Levein would use same unusual approach in the future, Houston replied: “If it is the right thing to do. It doesn't mean that we go into the game against Spain with the formation.

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