Gordon Strachan expects few changes to Scotland squad

Gordon Strachan doesn't envision too many changes to the current set up. Picture: John Devlin
Gordon Strachan doesn't envision too many changes to the current set up. Picture: John Devlin
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SCOTLAND manager Gordon Strachan does not foresee major changes to his squad before the World Cup qualifying campaign after all of his players indicated they would continue with their international careers.

Strachan signed a contract extension last month after checking his players, colleagues and bosses were happy for him to stay on along with the fans, who gave him a rousing reception despite Scotland missing out on a Euro 2016 play-off.

I’ve not got a problem with age, whether it’s 17 or 37, I’ve not got a problem.

Gordon Strachan

And the 58-year-old has been followed by his players in committing themselves to the national team.

“They’re all positive and I don’t see why not,” said Strachan, who is helping Ricky Sbragia prepare the under-21s for their European qualifier against Ukraine on Friday night.

“Even Gordon Greer, who is getting on a wee bit (34), his team (Brighton) are near the top of the league.

“I’ve not got a problem with age, whether it’s 17 or 37, I’ve not got a problem.

“The criteria is being able to pass the ball, football intelligence, being willing to come here and work hard. If you’ve got all that, you are in with a chance of getting in this squad.

“What you’ve got to look at, before the next time we get together in March, a lot can happen. I’m hoping people will throw themselves in front of us and say ‘you must pick us’. Preferably younger (but) if it’s older I’ve not got a problem.

“I hope there’s a young superstar out there. Our system will probably be the same, unless two or three players develop who are magnificent. But I can’t see that on the horizon so we go with what we have done.

“They all want to be here. The call-offs are very little and anyone that’s injured, they still want to be here. You saw that with Stuart Armstrong and Charlie Mulgrew the last time.

“So we have a good spirit, you have to be part of that spirit. I can’t see anything changing dramatically. What we have to have is a wee bit more technical ability in the last third - and a wee bit more luck would be handy.”

Strachan feels Scotland can benefit from small improvements ahead of their World Cup qualifying campaign, which pits them against England, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta.

“We change depending on players,” he said. “I’m sure if Wales didn’t have (Gareth) Bale, they would have another system; if Poland didn’t have (Robert) Lewandowski, they’d play a different system.

“I hope these greats come through in the next couple of years but if they don’t then we have to be prepared to continue what we are doing; make as many chances as we do.

“If you look back at the campaign we had some cruel luck against us at times and we had to live with that. Sometimes the football gods make you suffer.”

Strachan hopes to have Robert Snodgrass back in the fold by the time the campaign kicks off next September in Malta after the Hull winger made his reserve-team comeback on Monday night following 15 months out with a knee injury.

“I’ll have a word with him over the next couple of days,” Strachan said.

“We will have to let him go now and see how he gets on between now and the end of the season. There is no pressure on him.

“But, because of his mindset and the way he looks after himself, I’m looking for an even better Snodgrass when he comes back.”

Scotland Under-21s are looking to add to their four-point total at St Mirren Park in their fourth qualifier.

“I’m looking forward to seeing them in action,” Strachan said. “I caught one or two of them on Saturday at the Hearts game and enjoyed that.

“I like watching good players training. It’s mostly a watching brief.

“I have got to know their names though. I think I know them by their tattoos at the moment.”