Gordon Strachan calls on Scotland to stay focused

Gordon Strachan wants his players to control their emotions. Pic: SNS
Gordon Strachan wants his players to control their emotions. Pic: SNS
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Gordon Strachan is looking for his Scotland players to be focused rather than fevered in their crunch Euro 2016 qualifier against Poland at Hampden next month.

The Scotland boss was at the national stadium to announce his squad for the final two Group D fixtures against the Poles on October 8 and Gibraltar in Portugal three days later.

After losing against Georgia and Germany in their last double-header, Scotland are in fourth place, four points behind Republic of Ireland, six behind Poland and eight behind leaders Germany.

And while there are several permutations which would see the Scots finish in a play-off spot, the one certainty is defeat against Adam Nawalka’s men ends hopes of reaching France next summer.

Asked if over-enthusiasm could be a factor against Poland given the importance of the game, Strachan, who drafted in Aberdeen’s Graeme Shinnie and Kevin McDonald of Wolves, said: “You have to temper that. You can’t become emotional in a game of football.

“I think emotional players can lose you games, one way or another. Focused players are different. Emotional players can cause you bother and until now and I am sure it will continue, we have been focused rather than emotional.

“We are still in there. We can’t deal with what happens elsewhere. We can only deal with the game we are involved in. The first one against Poland is going to be a huge game.

“It is going to be a great occasion, a fantastic occasion, a pressurised occasion but we like that as footballers.

“The whole nation was disappointed (after last two results), which is understandable.

“We are up for it again, that is the good thing about us. People are up for it, the people in this building are up for it, the players and the staff are up for it, so we are ready to go again.”

The former Scotland midfielder will wait until after the qualification campaign is over before he considers his future as national team boss.

“I haven’t thought about that,” he said. “I have never thought about my future wherever I have been in football. I just continue and see where I end up. It’s good fun, you know.

“We will speak about it once it (campaign) is out of the way. The games are far more important than me.

“I love football and I love what I am doing now, that is for sure.

“But as I say we will talk about it when we finish this campaign and hopefully it has another few months to run now.”

Charlie Mulgrew was named in the squad despite Celtic manager Ronny Deila saying that would be unlikely due to a thigh injury that has kept him out of the Hoops team recently and the inclusion of midfielder McDonald and left-back Shinnie, who has been playing recently in the Dons’ midfield, the former Celtic and Middlesbrough boss, pictured left, said: “Kevin was with us last year. He has had a great season again with Wolves.

“I have seen him recently, he is getting better and better as he gets older although he is not an old man.

“I think he deserved to 
be here. I have known about Graeme for a couple of years now. But again, we have been strong in the areas he has been playing.

“But he has played so well it would be great to have a look at him. He can cover many positions, that is handy and I look forward to working with him.”

Scotland squad: Craig Gordon (Celtic), David Marshall (Cardiff), Allan McGregor (Hull), Christophe Berra (Ipswich), Gordon Greer (Brighton), Grant Hanley (Blackburn), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa), Russell Martin (Norwich), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Andrew Robertson (Hull), Graeme Shinnie (Aberden), Steven Whittaker (Norwich), Ikechi Anya (Watford), Scott Brown (Celtic), Darren Fletcher (West Brom), James Forrest (Celtic), Shaun Maloney (Hull), James McArthur (Wigan), Kevin McDonald (Wolves), James Morrison (West Brom), Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth), Steven Fletcher (Sunderland), Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Chris Martin (Derby), Steven Naismith (Everton), Jordan Rhodes (Blackburn), Johnny Russell (Derby).