Rough: Don’t focus solely on Bale
HAVING helped Scotland qualify for two World Cup Finals tournaments at the expense of Wales, it bemuses Alan Rough to observe the amount of fearful attention being paid to just one player from the Principality this week.
Gareth Bale’s name has been writ large in the build-up to tomorrow night’s World Cup qualifying showdown at Hampden but Rough believes it is a mistake to shine the spotlight on just one opposition player.
“The whole Bale thing is getting out of hand,” said the former Scotland goalkeeper. “We know he is a good player, but let’s remember that we’ve had Spain, France and Italy at Hampden in recent years.
“They all had superstar players in their teams, huge names in world football, but we did okay against them. You need to focus on the team you are playing, not just one player.
“When I played, I honestly don’t remember Jock Stein or even Ally MacLeod singling out a specific opposition player. Mind you, Ally should maybe have singled out Teofilo Cubillas before we played Peru in the 1978 World Cup finals!
“I’m not sure how Gordon Strachan will approach it with Bale. But if the opposition have good players, you just have to deal with it. Gordon and Mark McGhee have been around long enough to assess how best to deal with it.
“To look at it from another point of view, I think the Bale thing could be quite a good thing for Scotland. Because if they think he is their only player, then we should beat them. If he has an off night, they are in trouble.
“We played well against them down in Cardiff last time and we should have won it. It’s very important that Gordon now gets off to a winning start at Hampden, that’s vital for any manager.
“Scotland need to start winning games, we need to get everyone back on board with the national team. If you win games, it gets the media, fans and everyone else behind the team.
“I don’t think the country has been divided in recent times about the national team, but we have been depressed about it. If you have a good Scotland team, everyone goes around with a smile on their face.
“We all know what has been happening a club level in Scottish football, so it’s important we have a good national side. It makes everyone that bit happier. The qualifying campaign might have gone for us already, but the important thing is to start winning games again.
“By doing that, our world ranking will improve and hopefully get us into a higher pot for the draws for future tournaments. The situation we are in right now is a nightmare, with at least three higher ranked teams in our groups.”
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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