Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Football

Alex McLeish: Strong mentality key as Scotland head into friendly with Peru

The Scotland boss will also urge his players to enjoy the match and remember it forever.

Alex McLeish has told his Scotland players they will need a “strong mentality” in Tuesday night’s friendly against World Cup-bound Peru in Lima.

A makeshift and inexperienced Scots squad trained at an empty Estadio Nacional in preparation for the host’s final warm-up match before they go to Russia, their first appearance on the biggest stage in football since 1982.

Scotland then move on to the Azteca stadium on June 2 to play a challenge match against Mexico who are also going to Russia.

Speaking at the pre-match media conference, the former Scotland defender said: “We need to be physically and tactically ready and the players also need a strong mentality.

“A lot of them maybe haven’t experienced something like this before, to come to South America and play in front of a full stadium and a stadium that will make noise from the first minute of the game to the very last.

“Sometimes that can unsettle the opposition but I tell my boys I want them to enjoy it because these are great moments in your life and certainly in your football career.

“So I ask the boys to go out there and enjoy it and remember it forever.”

bpanews_1c93c3d6-4059-4c60-9046-aeed0e8f88a4_embedded236033791
Celtic v Rangers – William Hill Scottish Cup – Semi Final – Hampden Park

The former Hibernian, Rangers and Aston Villa boss has nine uncapped players in his squad and believes they will be excited at the prospect of their first appearance for their national team.

McLeish, who won the first of his 77 caps against Portugal in 1980 and who is in his second stint as Scotland boss, said: “I know that when I was told I was getting my first game for Scotland I couldn’t believe it.

“I dreamed about it as a young boy but never imagined I would ever play for my country.

“But when I was told I was playing for the national team for Scotland a shiver ran down my spine and made me feel so proud, yes with some nerves also but nerves in a good way.

“I had a good start to my Scotland career, we beat Portugal 4-1 so I hope that’s a good omen.”

Defender Charlie Mulgrew, who is likely to be handed the armband again, has become aware of the growing fervour in Lima since arriving last week.

The Blackburn Rovers captain said: “We can definitely feel the excitement for the game and the anticipation for Peru getting to the World Cup, with this being their last game before they go away.

“It just makes it more exciting and a much better atmosphere and build-up to the game. We’re all excited and looking forward to the match.”

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph