Strachan: I’ve never played for a draw, never will

Gordon Strachan. Picture: PA
Gordon Strachan. Picture: PA
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GORDON Strachan has dismissed suggestions that Scotland will be content to play for a draw in Dublin this evening.

A point against the Republic of Ireland in the Euro 2015 qualifier at the Aviva Stadium would be an acceptable result for Strachan’s side as it would ensure they remained third in Group D and preserved their two-point advantage over Martin O’Neill’s men, but Scotland manager Strachan insisted he had never be part of a team that had sought to engineer such an outcome in his entire adult life.

“I can’t remember any manager telling me, and I am going back 40 years, that this is the way you play for a draw,” he said. “I don’t think I have tried it myself. Try to win the game and see what happens after that.

“Would I take a draw? You never know what the points total is going to be. So you play the game and you get your point, or three points or no points and get on with it. It might have no relevance to where we end up or it might be important, you never know.”

Strachan, who extended his sympathies to Ireland striker Robbie Keane, who played under the Scot at Coventry, following the tragic death of two of his cousins this week, is certain of one aspect of this evening’s game. Asked if it would be a boost to Scotland were Aiden McGeady to miss out with a hamstring problem, Strachan maintained that group effort would trump individual brilliance.

“They [the Republic] have got loads of good players. If you look at their squad and pick a team, maybe all of them are Premier League players, or have been top Premier League players, so I don’t think they are short of good players,” Strachan said. “They could lose two or three players and still put in a terrific performance.

“I didn’t think any one player on either side would affect the outcome of the game tomorrow. The two squads have good players but what they have achieved is through excellent team work.

“Neither side has a Gareth Bale, a Ronaldo, we don’t have a Messi who can change the game on their own or take a game by the scruff of the net and cause havoc. Everything we have achieved, the two squads, has been through hard work and good players but not that world-class player.”