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Gordon Strachan: ‘Sorry Mum, I’ve got a job – the flowers are in the post’

World Cup qualifier: Scotland v SloveniaDate: Sunday, 26 March Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Kick-off: 19:45 BSTCoverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Scotland coach Gordon Strachan insists the ‘must-win’ nature of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia will bring the best out of his side.

The Scots lie fifth in Group F, four points adrift of their opponents, who are second behind leaders England.

Strachan admits anything less than victory will spell the end of another bid to end Scotland’s finals drought.

“There’s no grey areas to it. It’s must-win. That’s dealing with reality. We have to win,” said the 60-year-old.

“But sometimes when you have a challenge like that in life, it brings the best out of you so we will have a team ready for that challenge of ‘must win’.

“What we don’t have to do is win it in the first five or 10 minutes. You never know in big games when your opportunity will come along.

“However, what we do have to do is make opportunities and the players we pick will make those opportunities.

“But if we don’t score, we must get back into our shape that allows them very little opportunities.”

Strachan admits there are “a couple of knocks” in his squad, with Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser again forced to sit out training on Saturday with a knee injury that prevented his involvement against Canada.

But the head coach has decided on his line-up that will face the Slovenians, who are ranked 58th in above Scotland in 67th.

The visitors have drawn 2-2 with Lithuania and won 1-0 in Malta in their two away matches to date, and beaten Slovakia and drawn with England at home.

Kieran Tierney and Scott Brown could come into the Scotland side, with Ikechi Anya set to remain at right-back

“What we have done is pick a team that is feeling good about themselves,” said Strachan, who is likely to lean on who are unbeaten in domestic competition this season.

“It might be completely different from the England game but I am hoping we get the same commitment, the same bravery on the ball.

“If we can get it together then we will be fine. We can compete with most teams.

“We have got the shape right. We’ve got the players now. We’ve given them the information and we’re ready to go now.”

After the misery of Wednesday’s friendly in cold and wet conditions, Strachan says the balmy spring temperatures have buoyed his players ahead of Sunday’s encounter.

“One thing for sure is it’s going to be a great day, the weather is fantastic and there is a spring in the players’ step after what we had in Edinburgh at the beginning of the week,” he added.

“I think it will be a tremendous place to see football tomorrow, and I think it’s going to be a tremendous game.”


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