Scotland campaign needs sound goalkeeper, urges Alan Rough
Alan Rough believes Allan McGregor could make all the difference to Scotland’s hopes of beginning their World Cup qualifying campaign with maximum points against Serbia and Macedonia.
The goalkeeper was initially a doubt for the double-header at Hampden after being forced out of last month’s 3-1 friendly win over Australia at Easter Road with a groin injury.
However, McGregor has handed the national team a major boost by declaring himself fit for both matches after featuring in Besiktas’ 3-0 win over Kardemir last weekend.
For Rough, the importance of Scotland having their first-choice goalkeeper between the sticks cannot be emphasised strongly enough ahead of Saturday’s opener with Serbia.
He said: “Everybody has been talking about the strikers and talking about goals. Me, being a goalkeeper, I think it’s all about the goalkeeper. Goalkeepers win games and people seem to forget that.
“At most top clubs, if you don’t have a top goalkeeper, the goalkeeper who can win you a game, then you’re not going to get anywhere. In the Champions League last year, Petr Cech won the Champions League for Chelsea. The quality of goalkeepers like Allan McGregor can win a game for us.
“Serbia are going to have something, he’s going to have to make a save. At international level, you’ve got to have the goalkeeper who can make that save and he’s proved that he can make it. These saves win games.
“When that shot comes in, you’ve got to be mentally prepared. Allan McGregor, over the last two or three years, has proved he can do that.”
Scotland boss Craig Levein has had injury problems to contend with this week, as Charlie Mulgrew became the latest defender to withdraw from the squad today with an Achilles problem.
Danny Fox and Russell Martin have also pulled out, while Steven Whittaker and Phil Bardsley were unavailable for the original squad through injury.
On a more positive note, Christophe Berra is set to join up with the rest of the squad after his partner gave birth but Rough believes any changes to the rearguard should not pose too many problems for McGregor.
He said: “Hopefully it’s not going to change too much. He’s played with Gary Caldwell, he’s played with Christophe Berra and he’s played with Andy Webster.
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