KRIS COMMONS insists that Scotland must focus on all 11 players who line up against them at Hampden tonight – and not just on the danger posed by Gareth Bale.
Gordon Strachan’s side take on Wales knowing that they must win if they are to have any real hope of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup from Group A.
Spurs star Bale – who has been suffering with a virus in the build-up to the game – has been in the form of his life this season.
He scored the two goals that defeated Scotland when the sides met in Wales in October.
Commons is in no doubt as to the English Premiership star’s quality, but warned that the Scots cannot afford to take their eye off the other threats in the Wales side.
The Celtic player cautioned: “We have to remember we are not playing Gareth Bale, we are playing Wales, and they have 11 players.
“Although he is an extremely good player, he is not the first one this group of players have come up against.
“Wales are not a one-man team and I think he would honestly say they are not a one-man team and that we should respect all of the players around him.
“The press and the fans have been trying to find out if he was travelling, if he was playing, or if he was injured.
“But, it is vitally important that, as a group of players, we concentrate on playing the Welsh team.
“There is only so much you can do in terms of tactics or trying to stop one player. We have to focus on what we can do.”
Commons doesn’t mind if tonight’s match goes down as one of the least entertaining in recent times, as long as Scotland end the 90 minutes with all three points in the bag.
They currently sit rooted to the foot of Group A, are winless after four games and have picked up just two points so far.
Tonight’s match is closely followed by a trip to face Serbia on Tuesday night and, with their points tally so far in mind, Commons admits that results are far more important than the performance.
He added: “We could go out and play magic football and entertain the crowd, but, if you come into that dressing room after 90 minutes and you have not won, there’s no point having played so well.
“To qualify for a World Cup, it’s pretty cut throat. You need to win matches.
“We would all take a dull 1-0 win, move on to the next game, and hopefully keep on adding to the points tally. After tonight, we go to Serbia and any away fixture in this group is tough,” he admitted.
“Everyone is desperate to win. Everyone is putting their bodies on the line to get the three points.
“To win away from home is very difficult. That’s not just us, that’s for most countries.”
While the Scotland supporters will be keen to see their side come flying out of the starting blocks, Commons insists that they would be better served by a more measured approach tonight.
Scotland were a goal up inside half an hour back in October against Wales, only to lose the match 2-1 thanks to a double from Bale, and Commons continued: “I wouldn’t say we have to take the lead early tonight. The most important thing is just to win the match. A match is over 90 minutes. It’s not won in the first couple.
“But if we can get off to a good start, and get a goal, it might just ease a bit of tension and nerves in certain players.
“I’ve played in enough must-win games now that I am used to that pressure.
“We were winning in Cardiff, and did not get any points.
“Looking back at that game, I thought we were in complete control and dominating play, without taking too many chances.
“I thought we were going to win the match. So, coming off having lost, you were scratching your head asking: ‘What happened there?’
“Now, with the Tartan Army’s support at Hampden, the noise levels and volume of their backing will play a big part tonight.”
Commons feels that there has been a freshness about the Scotland squad since Gordon Strachan has been installed as manager.
And he is hoping that the way he plays will fit in with the new boss’s attacking style.
“After losing in Cardiff, we went to Brussels, and it was backs against the wall,” Commons continued.
“Now we need our best players coming out fighting and performing.
“With the change of manager, it has added that little bit of freshness and everyone is looking forward to playing for their country and, hopefully, getting the result we are all striving for.
“Looking at the teams the gaffer has had previously at club level, he has always liked attacking players.
“When I was in England and came up against his teams, he has always set them up to score goals.
“For the likes of myself, that’s a big positive because I am that sort of player who offers that at club level and hopefully do it on the national stage, too.”