Paul Lambert looked around at him before the ball was kicked by Brazil in France 98 and he knew Scotland would be fine. It didn’t matter that the yellow shirts in front of him were highly regarded in world football and that they were worn by players like Cafu and Ronaldo. Lambert knew that the Scottish team he was a part of would give Brazil the game. And even though his team should have lost 2-1, thanks to a goal from the late Tom Boyd, Craig Brown's team did just that.
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Twenty-three years later, another Scottish team will eventually taste the opening game of a major tournament and Lambert does not doubt that the players will feel as confident about them as he did in Paris. Perhaps during the years when Scotland was unsuitable, there may at times be a lack of faith. But the players in Steve Clarke's team will not suffer from that before.
Take a look at the clubs of our current players – Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Aston Villa, Newcastle, and Southampton. All the big clubs, some of which are at the top level of the Premier League where there is real pressure every week. Then you have found the Celtic boys, who had a difficult season at home but know all about winning and playing for a club where expectations are high. For more to know about FIFA World Cup 2022 Tickets Click here.
The core of the team knows what is needed. It takes me back to the last World Cup we played in 1998. Our team had a lot of guys with a high level of experience. I've been to Dortmund and I've been to Celtic. Craig Burley had previously been at Chelsea and then Celtic. John Collins was a Monaco player.
Colin Hendry and Kevin Gallacher had won the league in Blackburn, Gordon Durie was in Ranger. We would all end up studying at big clubs and that gave us confidence that we could play in the biggest leagues. We would like to think of something really good. When I look at the current squad, I feel the same way. For more to know about England Football World Cup Tickets.
Those players play at such a high level, there will be no scare to face some of the best players in Europe because they play with so many of them every week. I don't think Scotland will be impressed at all by lying in front of them. No, they don't have the experience to play in big tournaments.
But Andy Robertson has won the biggest football match – the Champions League. Scott McTominay was already the best player on the field in the Europa League Final. This group may surprise a few people. Lambert has named Aston Villa ace John McGinn as the most important player and hopes Clarke will stick to his statement that McTominay will work in the middle of the pitch rather than three defenders.
He said: “When McTominay plays in the middle of the pitch, he's a very good record for McGinn. Stevie's said McTominay goes to the Euros as a midfielder and that's good news because, although he has shown he can play in the back three, we remember his presence and stature in his stomach in his absence. For more to know about Football World Cup Hospitality Click here.
If he has to go back and play defensively for whatever reason, I have no problem with Callum McGregor playing with McGinn because that's another good relationship. Most of the countries these days have great players moving around in the park who are also good at work. Until McTominay arrived on the scene, we didn’t have too many of those.
The midfielder has been a very strong player in Scotland for some time. Right now, it’s as good as it has been for years. The goals and performance rating of McGinn are important. McTominay will be a great call for him but McGregor, Ryan Christie, and Stuart Armstrong are good, experienced players, and the two young recruits, Billy Gilmour and David Turnbull, are real hopes. For more to know about Football World Cup 2022 Tickets Click here.
McGinn is the key. He is, in the way he works for Scotland and the goals he brings to the team, who have become a great, great player for us. He has also reached a level in Villa where he is now considered the best player in England and one of the best leagues in the world. I always thought you needed a team nucleus to be successful. You need five or six you can put on your hat and we’ve got it now.
Robertson, Kieran Tierney, McTominay, and McGinn. Those four things are important to us. Although Che Adams has not been on the team for a long time, I also like him and he will give us a place to focus at the end of the pitch. He’s a respectable striker who offers something different. That is the fifth time a team has been formed.
The former Scotland captain is delighted to see Clarke's side play two home games – and he is not writing to another, Wembley, either. England will be a favorite but that can go either way. If they look down on Scotland, it will be a tough game in England. But facing the Czechs and Croatia in our stadium, that's a huge advantage. We have not had another Scottish team in a major tournament.
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