Evening Express

Let’s change negative perceptions – Scotland boss McLeish

Scotland manager Alex McLeish.

Scotland boss Alex McLeish has challenged his squad to change the Tartan Army’s negative expectations that the national side is always doomed to failure.

It is two decades since the Scots last qualified for the finals of a major tournament – the 1998 World Cup in France.

Scotland will tonight face Albania in the opening Group C1 match of the UEFA Nations League.

It is Mcleish’s first competitive game in charge of the Scots having replaced Gordon Strachan.

Winning the group, which also contains Israel, would give Scotland a chance of a place at Euro 2020.

McLeish, pictured, said: “I’m hearing people say it’s more hope than expectation, but we have to change that perception.

“The players are motivated for it and this is where it starts.

“I’m not saying everyone is against us, but the players know that, to get their names on the international map again, they have to win these types of games.

“We need to change it from ‘ach, they’ll no do it’, to ‘great team we’ve got, exciting times ahead’.”

Albania, who started League C’s Group 1 with a 1-0 win over Israel on Friday, are ranked 58th in the world – 18 places below Scotland.

McLeish admits he faces a dilemma for tonight on where to play left-backs Andy Robertson (Liverpool) and Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

Tierney played left of a three-man central defence in the 4-0 loss to Belgium on Friday.

McLeish said: “It’s one of these conundrums.

“I don’t want to leave either out of the team.

“The versatility of the players means the opportunity is there to change the system in future.

“Maybe I could move Andy to left wing in the future and get Kieran in at left-back, who knows?”