World Cup 2014: Scots must beat Wales and Serbia

Gordon Strachan training with the squad. Picture: SNS
Gordon Strachan training with the squad. Picture: SNS
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SCOTLAND must beat both Wales and Serbia over the next five days to maintain any chance of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. That was the message today from striker Kenny Miller, who stressed that the national team’s results next two games are both critical.

As Gordon Strachan prepares for his first competitive match in charge since replacing Craig Levein, Scotland sit bottom of Group A with just two points from their opening four qualifiers. With six games remaining in the section, including two against highly fancied Croatia, Miller believes nothing less than two wins will suffice starting with Wales at Hampden Park tomorrow evening.

“We know where we are in the group. We have got to make sure we try to claw ourselves back into it, and that is only going to happen if we win games. That’s got to start tomorrow,” he said. “If we win the next two games, that’s only going to be the first stage of us even thinking about getting back into the group. So, we need to turn the focus on whatever it takes to get the three points.

“At the start, you don’t need to do too much gambling. But, if at some stage you feel we need to over-commit or go for it, then we are going to have to go for it. It’s three points or bust, really. We realise it is going to take an incredible run of results to get us back into the shake up, but you never know. Football is a funny game, and, if we can go and get a little bit of momentum, starting tomorrow, we can maybe drag ourselves back into it.”

“This is a big game for us. It can go a little bit towards making up for our earlier results. It would also give us that

little bit of hope that we can go to Serbia and get a result as well. Then we will see how the

results in the other games

being played go. We might not to be too far off the pace with a glimmer of hope of getting back into it.

“Tomorrow is the first step. If we can get three points, that’s that job done, then we will have to look at Serbia. That will be a tough game, when you look at how they dealt with Wales across there (a 6-1 win for

Serbia). You know the quality they have in their team, so it will be a big ask.

“But Friday is the most

important one for us at the

moment. Go and right the wrong of the first two games, get the Tartan Army back

onside, and give them a performance that they are happy with. One they can be proud of, not just for them, for us as

players as well because the first two games were bitterly

disappointing for everyone

involved in the team.

“Basically, you just want to win the game. That’s it in a nutshell. Whether it is against Wales, Croatia, Belgium or whoever it is, we have to go and get the three points. Hopefully we will put in a good performance but, more importantly, we have to get the three points.”

Miller believes Scotland’s opening two draws against Serbia and Macedonia at home left them lagging behind in the qualifying campaign. Since then they have lost away to both Wales and Belgium. “We have seen how good a team Serbia are from their results, so 0-0 probably wasn’t a bad result in our opening game,” he continued.

“That game could have gone either way, and a draw was probably a fair result. I still say that would have been a good point if we had then beaten Macedonia, but we didn’t. That was the game which for us was the killer in the group so far. Even in the Wales game, the goal that was disallowed was a poor decision. At 2-0, I think Wales would have said that was the game over at that point. So, even that could have got us back into it.

“However, you still look at the Macedonia game. We were at home in front of our own crowd, we had two home games to start the campaign. Serbia could have been a good point for us, though it turned out not to be because we let ourselves down in the second game.”