Manager sees Luxembourg clash as chance to try new faces

CRAIG Levein yesterday outlined his reasons for selecting a friendly against Luxembourg to complete Scotland’s schedule of fixtures for this year.

The Scotland manager hopes to conclude the year on a high following the first four World Cup Group A qualifying games, against Serbia, Macedonia, Belgium and Wales.

The clash with Luxembourg on 14 November continues a trend which has seen Scotland take on lesser footballing powers towards the end of the year. Under Levein, Scotland have taken games against the Faroe Islands and Cyprus in that month. Luxembourg, currently ranked 127 in the world, are the latest set of opponents to feature in this friendly slot, with the potential for accumulating rankings points another consideration. Scotland were revealed to have fallen three places to 51 in the latest Fifa rankings when they were announced earlier this week.

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“It’s an opportunity maybe to have a look at one or two other things,” said Levein yesterday. “We’re trying to plan as far ahead as possible and put one or two things in place. There are a lot of things which are important. We have really tough games in September and October and, no disrespect to Luxembourg, but we may need an opportunity to go away and bring new players in without the same pressure. I’ve used that date in the last couple of years for the same idea and it’s worked pretty well.”

Levein handed debuts to Barry Bannan and Danny Wilson in Scotland’s 3-0 win over the Faroes in November 2010, while striker Jordan Rhodes made his Scotland bow in the last few minutes of the win over Cyprus a year later.

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Scotland, who drew 0-0 on their last appearance in Luxembourg in 1987, have also fixed up a friendly against Australia at Easter Road in August. Prior to that Levein’s side travel to face the United States in Florida in May.