Russell determined to end campaign on a high and with a place in play-offs
Scotland Under-21 striker Johnny Russell is determined to have something to show for their European qualifying campaign by securing victory in Austria this evening.
Scotland are assured of second place behind Group ten winners Holland ahead of their final game in Altach, near the Swiss border. But only the four best runners-up will join the group winners in the play-offs to reach the finals in Israel next summer.
The Scots are unbeaten and defeated the Netherlands on their own turf, but they have drawn four games and need a win to have a realistic chance of progressing. Even then that might not be enough.
Russell said: “We’ve got one game left and it would be really disappointing if we didn’t manage to get in the play-offs, the way we have performed throughout the campaign. It would be a bit of a gutter for us. There’s no point putting in all that effort and you have nothing to show for it.”
The Dundee United striker added: “We are confident. Even against Austria at home we had a few chances and felt we could have gone on and won it. We have to win there so that’s exactly what we’ll be aiming to do. We will be going over there attacking and hopefully we get a result and get ourselves into the play-offs.”
After seeing James Forrest and Jordan Rhodes promoted to the senior squad, coach Billy Stark has lost Gary Mackay-Steven and now Leigh Griffiths to injury for the final game.
Griffiths scored in Thursday’s 3-0 win over Luxembourg but the Scottish Football Association confirmed he had pulled out through injury.
However, Celtic striker Tony Watt scored after coming off the bench at St Mirren Park and Russell is sure they will adapt again. “It’s great credit to the lads that the boys that we have lost, the other boys can step in,” he said. “We’ve got a great squad with great players. We always knew it was going to be difficult and players were going to miss out. It’s credit to everyone who has stepped in.”
Scotland go into the final game with 13 points, the same relevant tally as the second-placed team in three other groups. Other second-placed teams Armenia and Portugal have 14 but face difficult away fixtures, while Norway already have 16 but are away to England. Switzerland have 14 and are at home against Estonia.
Slovakia are only on 12 points while Turkey have 15 but their campaign has finished.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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