Belfast Telegraph

McLeish determined to transform Scottish mentality

By Gavin McCafferty

Alex McLeish wants to bring a "swagger" back to Scotland's play.

The 77-times capped defender this evening begins his second Scotland reign against a team which inflicted one of the country's most painful defeats.

McLeish was in a Scotland side which was ravaged by fear as they lost 1-0 against the unknowns of Costa Rica in their opening World Cup game of 1990.

"I remember it well," he said. "We were maybe a bit apprehensive about losing the game rather than embracing the fact that we have got to win this. We were more scared of losing.

"And that's what I want our guys to eliminate from their minds, and when they go into games to be gallus, if you like - believe in yourself as a Scottish player. These guys are in the squad on merit, been playing very well for their clubs, and that's why we chose them."

The former Rangers manager added: "We want to qualify for the Euros. That's our number one goal and we will never have that out of our minds. It's not something to worry about, it's something to face head on and embrace.

"I've felt in recent years that we maybe haven't had that swagger. 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."

Scotland vs Costa Rica

International Friendly

Hampden Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

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