Levein has no doubt Spain will be strong

Have your say

Craig LEVEIN does not believe Scotland’s chances of making the Euro 2012 play-offs will be made any easier even if Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque rotates his squad for the Group I qualifying finale in Alicante tomorrow night.

Scotland beat Liechtenstein 1-0 in Vaduz on Saturday night to go one point clear in second place above fellow play-off contenders Czech Republic, who are in Lithuania at the same time Levein’s men are playing the world and European champions.

Technically, Scotland have their fate in their own hands but a defeat would mean the Czechs need only draw to secure a play-off spot.

It has been reported since Spain’s 2-0 win over Czech Republic in Prague on Friday night that Del Bosque could give Valencia left-back Jordi Alba his debut against Scotland and other players, such as Thiago, Javi Martinez, Pedro and Santi Cazorla, could all come into the reckoning.

However, the Scotland boss said: “He (Del Bosque) said he would try to give everyone in the squad a game. If that is the case, then a lot of the big-hitters were playing on Friday night against Czech Republic.

“But their strength-in-depth is phenomenal. It’s not as if they are going to bring in young guys who have never played before or are not up to the required standard but we have to wait and see.”

Levein insists there will be no need to motivate his players for the game against a side who are looking to complete a clean sweep of wins in the qualifying campaign.

“This game is quite easy for me because we know what we have to do,” he said. “It’s just a case of going out, defending properly and trying to score.

“It’s going to be a difficult match and we will probably be defending for the majority of the match. I have no doubt that the defenders will need to be our best players and our goalkeeper will need to be on top of his game but ultimately, we need to make chances and score goals, or a goal.”

Scotland defender Christophe Berra believes all the pressure will be on the Czechs.

“It’s not an easy game for the Czechs. Lithuania have beaten them already in this campaign,” he said. “We have the points on the board just now so the pressure is on them really – they are the ones who need to get a win or at least a draw.

“It will be a funny game (in Lithuania). There probably won’t be much of an atmosphere. It is not a great stadium and the pitch won’t be the greatest so anything can happen.

“We are not expected to win against Spain. If we get anything out of the game it would be a big upset really. You have to be professional, go out there and take care of ourselves and the Lithuania and Czech game will take care of itself.”

Levein is sweating over the fitness of midfielder Barry Bannan, who is struggling with an Achilles injury.

The Scotland boss revealed other bumps and bruises within his squad and confirmed striker Kenny Miller, who missed the game against Liechtenstein with a groin injury, would be assessed again but Bannan appears to be a new worry.

“Barry Bannan has a gash on his heel,” said Levein. “It is a really awkward area. He is doubtful. Craig Mackail-Smith’s back is bothering him a bit – and he has a history of that. There are quite a few niggles but we will get a clearer picture tomorrow.”