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World Cup 2018

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Home Sport Football

McLeish urges players to make the most of forthcoming friendlies

The Scotland manager has taken an inexperienced squad to play two countries preparing for the World Cup in Russia.

Alex McLeish spoke of “golden incentives” for his makeshift and inexperienced Scotland squad ahead of the upcoming friendlies against Peru and Mexico.

The Scots will act as final warm-up opponents for two sides who are on their way to the World Cup in Russia with the first game at Peru’s Estadio Nacional on May 29 before facing Mexico at their famous Azteca Stadium on May 2, with both matches expected to be sell-outs.

There have been six call-offs from McLeish’s squad which was already missing several  of Celtic’s double-treble winning team while other regulars are missing, such as Liverpool’s Andy Robertson who has a Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday night .

Consequently, there are nine uncapped players amid a group of 21 who have only 75 appearances between them, but McLeish wants his charges to make the most of experiences which may not come along again.

“There’s golden incentives for every single player who’s here,” he told BBC Scotland.

“They have to have that desire and a tough mentality because they’re going to be running out in front of really noisy fans in colossal stadiums. That can be unnerving.

“Let’s ask them to go and express themselves and really enjoy it and not be fazed at all by going into these cauldrons.

“My message to the players is, ’embrace it, enjoy it’.

“It’ll be some of the greatest moments of your career and indeed your whole life.”

McLeish has only had low-key friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary since returning to the Hampden hot seat but he is positive about the prospect of coming up against two experienced sides who will be fine tuning for Russia.

“Why be concerned?” said the former Scotland defender.

“When you look at the squad, the players that have been picked have all been in excellent form this season.

“I know there’s not a lot of them who are seasoned internationals but I don’t think there’s a lack of talent out there or a lack of legs.

“I’ve got to compliment the guys who have come out.

“They are bursting to play for Scotland and we’ll try to put on a good show and make it worthwhile for the Tartan Army that’s here to support us.”

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