Former Don Kenny McLean insists Scotland have the quality to hurt Belgium and restore some hope in their bid to qualify for Euro 2020 from Group I.
The national team tackle the world’s No 1 ranked side at Hampden tonight in a game which appears to be must-win after Friday’s 2-1 defeat to Russia.
Steve Clarke’s side sit fourth in the section with six points from five games – six points behind second-place Russia and nine adrift of table toppers Belgium.
In June the Scots went down 3-0 to Roberto Martinez’s team in Brussels – but ex-Aberdeen midfielder McLean insists they can cause the Belgians problems.
The 27-year-old, who left Pittodrie after three-and-a-half years for Norwich last summer, said: “I don’t think that game in the summer will reflect what will happen in this game.
“We know how good they are – they’re the best team in the world for a reason.
“For us we need to nullify their threats, but that’s a challenge we need to look forward to.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that we have quality that can hurt Belgium.
“There’s plenty of quality in this squad, but it’s up to us to bring that into the game.”
With only six points accumulated from the first half of Group I it looks a tall order for the Scots to reach next year’s European Championships without using their UEFA Nations League play-off spot.
McLean added: “We’ve got a mountain to climb in this group and we know that.
“We’re going to need to take something from this game against the best team in the world and it will be a tough ask.
“But we’ve got ourselves in this position and it’s up to us to get ourselves out of it.
“Is it a must-win game? Well it’s not far off that. We definitely need to take something from the game.
“We need to pick ourselves up quickly and get back to it at Hampden.”
Friday’s loss to Russia was a bitter pill for Scotland to swallow. Having started brightly they took the lead after 10 minutes through John McGinn but after that the Russians seized control and ran out comfortable winners.
McLean, a second half sub on Friday, said: “It was a disappointing night for everyone involved. It was not what we set out to do and not what anyone wanted.
“It was a tough one for us to take and we need to pick ourselves up quickly and go again.
“We started very well and got our goal, but once that went in we seemed to take a step back.
“We didn’t continue on the front foot and put Russia under pressure when we had done that well to start with.
“We should have continued to put them under pressure, but taking a step back gave them encouragement and they’re a very good team.”
McLean was sent on by boss Clarke just after the hour against Russia and he admits he found it difficult to get a foothold in an encounter which was at that stage being dominated by the visitors.
But tonight the former St Mirren man hopes he may be pitched in from the start.
He said: “Russia are a very good team so of course it’s going to be difficult playing against them.
“I tried to do my bit when I came on, but like most of the boys it was difficult to get up to speed and we still didn’t create much when I came on.
“I want to play in every game possible so it’s up to me to get myself in the team and keep myself there.
“When I’ve played I’ve felt my form has been good enough, but coming to the international game you need to step up again because it’s a different ball game.”