Scotland changes likely even before withdrawals – McLeish

Scotland changes likely even before withdrawals – McLeish

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Scott McKenna has been joined by fellow Aberdeen defender Michael Devlin in the Scotland squad

BBC coverage

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Scotland head coach Alex McLeish says changes to his team were likely before four players pulled out of his squad for the friendly against Portugal.

Kieran Tierney is rested because of fatigue, while fellow defenders Charlie Mulgrew and John Souttar are injured.

Midfielder Robert Snodgrass was released after sitting out Thursday’s Nations League defeat by Israel.

“They are always a frustration, the call-offs, but we were maybe looking to change the personnel,” McLeish said.

“It gives other people an opportunity and the game gives us a chance to bounce back from a bad result on Thursday night.”

Portugal are without superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who is facing rape allegations his lawyer maintains are “completely fabricated”.

Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva has left the squad after scoring a memorable goal in Thursday’s 3-2 Nations League win in Poland, as has experienced defender Pepe.

Winger Helder Costa could make his debut in Glasgow after impressing for Wolverhampton Wanderers this season.

The Euro 2016 winners are currently ranked the seventh best side in the world, 32 places above Scotland.

“They are a superb team, a fantastic squad, their ability on the ball is Brazilian-like,” McLeish said. “They have that kind of flair and have been fantastic in recent years.

“I saw their game against Poland and it was a fantastic performance to go there and win like they did.”

McLeish has called up Michael Devlin for the first time, along with the centre-half’s Aberdeen team-mate, winger Gary Mackay-Steven, and Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie.

“There is good spirit in the camp,” he insisted. “We have freshened the team up a bit and some of them are probably relieved to get a rest.

“But most of the guys are raring to go and the boys coming in feel they have something to prove.”

McLeish suggested his side “capitulated” in the second half in Haifa and called for greater “resilience”.

“We need to show more urgency and we need to win individual battles,” he said. “We are all disappointed and we want to make up for that.”

Santos wary of Scottish passion

Fernando Santos is without some star names at Hampden

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos indicated that his side would “try to take advantage of Scotland’s difficulties”.

“Scotland are strong opponents and they play with different formations we’re not used to facing, so that will be a challenge for us,” he said.

“They have a really strong support, which is important for them.

“I know very well the passion of the Scottish game. I was here playing against Celtic in 2006 and Hibernian in 2001 and the passion around these games led the players to bring the best out of themselves.

“Scots are very passionate about football, I’m very well aware of that.”

The nations last met in a 2002 friendly, an early double from Pauleta giving Portugal a 2-0 win in Braga.

Their most recent meetings on Scottish soil were World Cup qualifiers in 1992 and 1980, with both matches ending in goalless draws.

Soccer News

via BBC Sport – Football https://ift.tt/OHg7x6

October 13, 2018 at 12:30PM

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