Evening Express

Belief is key for Scotland against Belgium says former star Wilson – who played in last win over Red Devils

1987: The Scotland team line up before the 2-0 win over Belgium in European Championships qualifying. Left to right, Roy Aitken, Jim Leishman, Mo Johnston, Ian Wilson, Paul McStay, Maurice Malpas, Gary Gillespie, Steve Clarke, Ian Durrant, Ally McCoist and Alex McLeish

Aberdonian Ian Wilson was in the last Scotland team to beat Belgium and believes Alex McLeish’s side are capable of pulling off a similar shock.

Former Everton and Leicester City midfielder Wilson starred in a 2-0 Euro ’88 qualifying win over the Belgians at Hampden in October 1987.

Scotland will tonight face a Belgium side sitting second in the Fifa world rankings in a friendly as warm up for the UEFA Nations League opener against Albania on Monday.

Like now, Belgium in 1987 were also on a high after reaching the World Cup semi-finals.

Wilson, 60, reckons the Scots can emulate Andy Roxburgh’s ’87 side by overcoming the Belgians if they have the self belief.

He said: “Scotland need to believe they can beat teams like Belgium and have a go at them.

“Don’t give them too much respect.

“Scotland are always better when they are working hard making life difficult for the opponent.

“If they do that they will create chances and Scotland have two prolific goalscorers in Leigh Griffiths and Steven Naismith who is flying with Hearts now.

“Belgium are a world-class side with tremendous attacking options with players such as Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

“It is a great opportunity for the Scots to go up against the World Cup semi-finalists. However, Albania is the big game as that is a competitive match.”

Ian Wilson in action for Scotland.

Wilson reckons the self belief needed against world class opposition like Belgium will come from captain Andy Robertson.

The Liverpool full-back, who starred in the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid last season, was confirmed as national captain earlier this week.

Wilson said: “Selecting Robertson as captain is a great move as I have never seen him have a bad game.

“He plays with his heart on his sleeve. Robertson always puts in a hard shift and also performs consistently at a very high level.”

Aberdeen skipper Shinnie is in contention to win his third cap tonight having featured in the summer friendlies against Peru and Mexico.

Shinnie is the only Aberdeen player in McLeish’s squad as defender Scott McKenna is ruled out with a hamstring tear.

Wilson said: “Hopefully Shinnie can get another cap as he is a player very much like Robertson.

“He leads by example and you always get a good game from Shinnie. Ideally Shinnie can get more sustained opportunities to represent his country.”

Scotland have faced Belgium four times since victory in 1987, drawing one and losing three.

In front of a crowd of just 20,052 Ally McCoist and Paul McStay scored either side of half-time to secure the victory.

Against Belgium Wilson was directly against right-back Eric Gerets who within a year went on to captain PSV Eindhoven to European Cup glory alongside future Aberdeen legend Hans Gillhaus.

“Belgium were a good side then and had players like Jan Ceulemans and Franky Van der Elst,” said Wilson.

“I was directly up against Eric Gerets who was a strong, competitive right-back that had also played for AC Milan.

“He went on to be a great manager and won the Belgian, Dutch and Turkish leagues.

“The campaign didn’t go very well for us as we didn’t qualify.

“Republic of Ireland qualified as top of the group under Jack Charlton.”

Ian Wilson Soccer Coaching will hold camps during the autumn school holidays at Goals (October 15-19) and Aberdeen Sports Village (October 22-26).

For details see http://www. ianwilsonsoccercoaching.com