Grant Hanley flags up threat of Pedersen

Grant Hanley: Praise for an old mentor. Picture: SNS
Grant Hanley: Praise for an old mentor. Picture: SNS
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SCOTLAND should need no reminding of the threat presented by Morten Gamst Pedersen ahead of tomorrow night’s meeting with Norway in Molde.

The 32-year-old striker, who came out of international retirement to win his 75th cap for the Norwegians in their 2-1 defeat in Denmark on Friday night, scored two of his 16 goals for his country in their crushing 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over the Scots in Oslo four years ago.

Pedersen, now playing his club football in Turkey for Karabukspor, is a former Blackburn Rovers team-mate of Grant Hanley. The young Scotland central defender, forced to pull out of the squad yesterday with a muscle 
injury, says Pedersen played a significant role in his development.

“I got on really well with Morten at Blackburn,” said Hanley. “He was in the team when I made my debut.

“He’s one of the best professionals I’ve ever seen. You won’t get many better than him in terms of dedication and what he puts into the game. Obviously as a kid coming through you have to look up to a player like that.

“The number of games he’s played in the English Premier League shows you that he’s quality. At one time there were all sorts of clubs after him, including Manchester United, and that was no surprise to me.

“He struggled to get into the team in the end at Blackburn which was a shame because of what he did over the years for the club. But the fact he’s come back on to the international stage shows you the type of guy he is.

“He’s well over 30 and yet looks after himself really well. He could go on and play for years because of how he’s conducted his career.”

Hanley had a new central defensive partner in the shape of Brighton captain Gordon Greer for Friday’s 0-0 draw against the USA at Hampden and enjoyed the experience.

“We’ve trained together now on quite a few trips and I get on really well with Gordon,” said Hanley.

“He’s played a lot of games at a high level and it’s good for me to get tips and advice from him. Centre-halves are there to try and make sure we keep a clean sheet and the only disappointment for the team was that we couldn’t push on against the USA to get a goal ourselves. But you can’t get beaten if you keep clean sheets and right now we’re on a good run.”