Temuri Ketsbaia criticises Scotland’s confidence

An animated Temuri Ketsbaia talks to the media at Ibrox. Picture: SNS
An animated Temuri Ketsbaia talks to the media at Ibrox. Picture: SNS
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GEORGIA manager Temuri Ketsbaia has warned Scotland they are not good enough to take victory against his side for granted.

Gordon Strachan’s side host the Georgians at Ibrox today with a confident look about them.

A run of just one defeat – and that to world champions Germany – in the last seven has got the Tartan Army believing they can qualify for Euro 2016. But ahead of the Group D qualifier, former Newcastle United and Dundee maverick Ketsbaia tore a strip off those writing off his men.

He said: “I’ve been manager for five years and we have played much better teams than Scotland.

“If you see our games we are maybe not winning but we don’t make it easy for anybody.

“If they feel confident that is their problem, not our problem. I don’t think Scotland are better than Spain, France, Croatia, Greece or any other team that played in the finals or won World Cups or European Championships. I’m expecting my players to go out and prove them wrong.

“We have been written off since the beginning in Scotland. They said that the only teams who are not playing for the finals are Georgia and Gibraltar. That is their opinion.”

Like Scotland in Dortmund last month, the Georgians lost their opening qualifier when ex-Celtic winger Aiden McGeady struck a sensational last-gasp winner to seal a 2-1 win for Ireland in Tbilisi.

And their manager admits defeat for either his side or the Scots is now unthinkable as they chase a place in the finals in France.

“It’s not a must-win game,” he said. “But it is a game you cannot lose.”

However, Ketsbaia – who has twice played at Ibrox, first with Dundee in February 2002 and then with Cypriot outfit Anorthosis Famagusta three years later – denied he would find his job in jeopardy if he does not walk out of Govan clutching three points.

“I’ve heard about this,” said Ketsbaia when asked if he was under pressure. “I said after the Ireland game, when we lost, that if we didn’t get the results in the next two games maybe it would be time for me to go.

“But I don’t feel pressure. Nobody has told me that this is my last game. One friend called me all day yesterday to tell me that somebody here wrote that, if I lose the game, I will go.

“It reminds me of what happened when I played against Rangers here in the Champions League.

“Our budget was £3 million, Glasgow’s budget was £50 million. I said I didn’t see a £47m difference between the teams. The next day, the paper had me saying Rangers were rubbish.

“When I got to the stadium, 50,000 screamed at me every time I touched the ball.

“You are always under pressure as a coach. Especially for us because, for five years now, most of the games we’ve played are against teams who are much better than us. But we’re not easy to beat.”

Scottish betting firm McBookie.com are offering 6-1 that Scotland will pick up maximum points in their upcoming Euro 2016 fixtures – against Georgia and Poland. Spokesman Paul Petrie said: “Confidence is high in the Scotland camp and there is no reason why we cannot pick up six points. Four points is the minimum we should be looking for.”