James MORRISON will use Croatian forecasts of impending doom for Scotland as motivation in the 2014 World Cup qualifier in Zagreb on Friday night.
Croatia are joint top of Group A with Belgium on 16 points from six games while the Scots’ hopes of a place at the Brazil finals next summer are already over as they look for their first victory of the campaign.
Croatia striker Ivica Olic was quoted as saying the home side are looking to “win by two or three goals” in order to boost their goal difference while former national team boss Miroslav Blazevic was quoted as saying that his guess was Scotland “will go back home with five goals in their net”.
Asked if those remarks would provide the Scots with an incentive in the Stadion Maksimir, the West Brom midfielder said: “Most definitely. We will put it to the back of our minds but once the game comes on Friday we will try to use that to motivate ourselves.
“It is not nice but we are concentrating on our training week. We are doing double sessions and working really hard.
“There are a lot of new players trying to get used to each other and so we are just going to concentrate on our game and let them deal with themselves.”
Morrison, one of the most experienced men in Gordon Strachan’s depleted squad despite having just turned 27 last week, is not blind to the task that awaits Scotland, comparing it to West Brom playing Manchester City or Manchester United away.
However, at the end of a “long, hard season” in the Premier League, he is looking to give it “one last push” to try to get a much-needed positive result.
“Obviously it is not an ideal time but now that we are here, everyone is looking forward to the game,” he said.
“It has been a great season with West Brom, a top-eight finish and it would be nice to finish on a high with Scotland.
“It is going to be tough going over there.
“They have a fantastic team and players in their squad have been playing in the Champions League final but we have to test ourselves against the best.”