Gordon Strachan makes Lithuania plastic pitch demands

Gordon Strachan will insist his Scotland squad are allowed to train on Lithuania's plastic pitch in the same conditions that will be used for Friday's crucial World Cup qualifier.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has plastic pitch demands. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has plastic pitch demands. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson

The Scots head to the LFF Arena in Vilnius to play their first ever full international clash on an artificial surface.

But Strachan knows from experience that an astro turf pitch can behave in a different manner depending on how much moisture is applied.

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He was in charge of Celtic back in 2007 when they took on Spartak Moscow in a Champions League qualifier and remembers how the Hoops nearly slipped up when the bone-dry plastic pitch they had trained on was soaked by the Russians before kick-off.

“We have known for a long, long time that we’re going to be playing on a surface that we are not used to,” Strachan said. “Some players have played on surfaces like the one we’ll see on Friday, others haven’t.

“But we will be working on a similar pitch tomorrow afternoon and I don’t think it will be too big a problem because we’ll know what it’s all about.

“We are going to ask to make sure that the training conditions are exactly the same as they will be during the game.

“I remember going away with Celtic to Spartak Moscow and we trained the night before the game on a dry surface. It was a dry surface again during the warm-up.

“But as soon as we went inside for our final preparations, the pitch got covered. They had fire engines and you name it to make sure we were sliding about for 20 minutes.

“So we want to make sure the training conditions are the same as the playing conditions.

“That’s the only stipulation we have, the rest we’re more than happy with.”