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Scotland v Norway: Strachan praises squad ‘drive’

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan with assistants Mark McGhee and Stuart McCall. Strachan praised the drive of the team in training. Picture: PA

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan with assistants Mark McGhee and Stuart McCall. Strachan praised the drive of the team in training. Picture: PA

SCOTLAND boss Gordon Strachan says the drive and determination shown by his players in training ahead of the friendly match against Norway tomorrow has given him and his coaching staff a boost.

Following the goalless draw in the Vauxhall International Challenge match against the USA at Hampden Park on Friday night, the Scottish players returned to their Mar Hall training base on the outskirts of Glasgow to prepare for the trip to Molde on Monday.

Strachan drafted in Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd and Dundee United midfielder Stuart Armstrong into the squad on Sunday, following the withdrawal of Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher, Celtic midfielder Charlie Mulgrew and Blackburn defender Grant Hanley, while Leeds striker Ross McCormack and Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks both pulled out on Monday.

Strachan, assistant Mark McGhee and coach Stuart McCall were more than impressed with the players as they tried out a different formation with different personnel.

The Scotland boss said: “The players’ performances the last two days have been absolutely fantastic.

“I congratulated them yesterday on how well they did at training, it was excellent.

“We have been working on something a wee bit different.

“There will be change in personnel as well as a small change in what we are going to try.

“We have looked at something to bring a wee bit freshness to it.

“So we have used our time, we think, wisely again and there was a tremendous performance by the players.

“We worked on a certain ways of doing things and that was good, it was great for the coaches, it made us feel good about ourselves.”

Strachan is expecting a physical battle against the Norwegians but will spend most of his time concentrating on his own plans.

He said: “They (Norway) are strong lads, again. The USA were big big boys and we dealt with a lot of what they had.

“We will take Norway into consideration but I hope their manager understands that we are actually just going to look at what we are going to do.

“The stuff we have been doing in the last two days has been what we are going to do with the ball.”

Strachan admits 21-year-old Armstrong’s eye for a goal - the Tannadice player has scored four times from the middle of the park this season - helped with his call-up.

He said: “That helps, that definitely helps.

“Midfielders scoring, it turns your head and he has got it in him.

“There is a good job being done at Dundee United and we are reaping the benefits here.”

 

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