IT IS a truth universally acknowledged that Scotland have no Robert Lewandowski-type star.
Captain Scott Brown maintains that does not mean they are bereft of players with star qualities, though. It is to be hoped against Poland tonight his team-mates can produce as compelling a defence as Brown did on their behalf yesterday. If they do, then the outcome sought at Hampden to remain in contention for a Euro 2016 play-off place should follow.
It was put to the 30-year-old that Scotland do not have the one player that can do something special. Brown didn’t quite bristle and produce The Stare. But it looked like he was making an effort not to do so as he offered up glowing references for talents that haven’t prevented Gordon Strachan’s side taking only one point from the past nine they have contested in Group D.
“I think sometimes you need some individuals but we have Shaun Maloney who is just as good on a free-kick as anyone there is,” said Brown. “We have Steven Fletcher who can score goals, we have Steven Naismith who works hard and creates more than most people in the Premier League and who can score a hat-trick against Chelsea. So you can’t tell me that we don’t have good individuals – we have some great individuals but the thing about us is that we have a great core as well. We have a great spirit and we have a great manager. Hopefully Poland rely too much on one player.”
Brown claimed that he would have settled for the position Scotland find themselves in going into their final two group encounters. It must be assumed he recognises it is far from beyond the bounds of possibility that he could lead the country to two victories and find that Scotland’s exile from major tournaments stretches to 20 years.
“We are still trying to get to the play-offs. It started great for us but there was always going to be a little blip. It was always going to be a hard group, especially when you see the world champions and you think they are going to win every game. They had a slow start but they kicked on towards the end. We all knew Poland were a good team while Martin O’Neill with Ireland was always going to be a battle. We need to show how good we are. We need every single fan in that stadium to help us out.”