Belfast Telegraph

Scotland must do better, says manager Craig Levein

Scotland manager Craig Levein has promised his nation a much-improved display in his first competitive match tonight.

Scotland's preparations for their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign suffered a major blow last month when they lost 3-0 in Sweden.

Last night Levein named Steven Naismith in their opening game against Lithuania, leaving James McFadden out of his first competitive line-up.

Lee McCulloch was also handed a start ahead of Paul Hartley in midfield while Alan Hutton has overcome fitness doubts to take his place at right-back.

Davie Weir will partner Stephen McManus at centre-back with Steven Whittaker at left-back.

Barry Robson will play on the opposite flank to Naismith with Scott Brown and captain Darren Fletcher joining McCulloch in the centre.

“I assure you we will be better than in Sweden,” Levein said.

“We have learned lessons and the most important one is the manager has learned that friendlies are quite important.”

Scotland kicked off their previous European Championship campaign with a 2-1 victory in Kaunas.

That victory four years ago allowed Scotland to push the then world champions, Italy and runners-up France for qualification, and they again face the best team on the planet this time with Spain the clear favourites in a group that also contains the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein.

“Lithuania are at home and arguably might be favourites, but I know we have match-winners in the team,” said Levein.

Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Weir, McManus, Whittaker, Brown, D Fletcher, McCulloch, Robson, Naismith, Miller.

Belfast Telegraph


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