Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall hails Scotland star for 'perfect four games' as he makes World Cup claim
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The Scots have seen off Cyprus, Georgia, and Spain at Hampden and recorded a come-from-behind victory against Norway in Oslo to sit top of Group A after the first round of fixtures and are still to concede a goal from open play. Hibs captain Marshall wrote his name into history by playing a key role in the squad that qualified for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament but the 38-year-old believes the national team have taken a step forward in recent months.
"We’ve mentioned before that we were always on the edge with Scotland; we were playing must-win games in play-off matches, but now they’re putting themselves in a position where the pressure has transferred to the other teams,” Marshall explained. “They are almost there [automatic qualification], and I’m fully confident they can get there.
"I’m delighted for them, because I know how disappointing the Ukraine game was last summer and how the dressing room was after. The manager spoke about kicking on and they’ve been fantastic. I’m sure they will get there in the next couple of games.”
Losing to Ukraine at Hampden just months after the Russian invasion ended Scotland’s hopes of reaching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, although they would have faced a tough tie against Wales even if they had beaten Ukraine. So while reaching the Euros is cause for celebration, Marshall believes Scotland have to factor in World Cup qualification too – and he believes the current squad has what it takes.
“Doing it as a one-off is not what you want. It was great to reach the Euros but you want consistency andto get to the World Cup as well. It’s a great squad, I’ve always said that. The change of the game from March to the summer with Ukraine wasn’t helpful so maybe it did the squad a disservice. It was a tough place to move that to but they’ve kicked on and I’m they’re a great age so hopefully in the next, four, five six years that squad can do good things.”
Marshall has also been impressed by Angus Gunn, who has come in as starting goalkeeper. His dad is none other than former Hibs, Norwich, and Scotland shot-stopper Bryan, who coached the current Hibs ‘keeper at Carrow Road.
“[Angus] has had the perfect four games, it’s great for him,” Marshall continued. “I was actually with his dad in the summer at a golf event so I’m delighted for him, because it’s tough to come in. Those four games have been special and he’s bought into it. He’s not made a helluva lot of saves or been called upon too often but positionally, and his calmness on the ball, he’s been great. His dad was buzzing in the summer; he was travelling over to Norway to see him. That was the big game: if they got a draw there it would have been great but to go and win that game – a bit of nervous excitement from Bryan but I’m sure he’ll be a bit more relaxed. They’ve been fantastic. It’s been a great start for them and I’m sure they will kick on and go to Germany.”