Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez has highlighted the importance of Scotland to his country’s football history.
Ramirez was in the Los Ticos side which shocked the Scots 1-0 in their opening Group C encounter at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
Scotland manager Alex McLeish was in the Scotland defence that day, which marked Costa Rica’s first appearance at the finals. While McLeish this evening begins his second tenure in the Hampden hot seat looking ahead to the inaugural Nations League later in the year, Ramirez is preparing Costa Rica for their fifth World Cup appearance.
“It was a very important game in the history of Costa Rican football of course, being the first match we had at the World Cup,” said Ramirez, speaking through an interpreter at Hampden.
“We did a very good job preparing the team for Italia 90. A nation who had never been to a World Cup before, winning that game was a surprise. And it was an important kick-off point for our nation.
“Since 1990 there has been a big development of Costa Rican football and, of course, our more recent reference is what we did in Brazil in 2014 [when they reached the quarter-finals before losing on penalties to the Netherlands]. Of course there is some expectation that we win this game. But we have to compromise with that and show some things we will do in the World Cup.”
Ramirez revealed he had made a point of looking back at the game against Scotland and is looking forward to a reunion with McLeish.
He added: “It’s the second time this happened. My first game as national team coach was against Brazil, managed by Dunga – who I played against at Italia 90.
“I didn’t remember Alex playing on the field that day, so I went back and watched the video. I remember a lot of the play on my side in an intense game. It’s nice for me to see former players from this game.”