Glasgow (AFP) – Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee expects a strong response as his team look to bounce back from an embarrassing draw to Canada in a crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.
Gordon Strachan’s side trailed to the Canadians before Steven Naismith’s equaliser gave them an unconvincing 1-1 draw at Easter Road on Wednesday.
Canada are 50 places below the Scots in the FIFA world rankings, but McGhee insists Strachan will make widespread changes to what was an experimental line-up and he is confident of a much more dynamic display in Sunday’s Hampden Park clash.
“The team will change. If we were sitting here saying the team that we had last night is the same team that’s going to play on Sunday night, and therefore the manager has to come up with some story to convince them that they are going to do better on Sunday night than they did last night, then I tell you what, I would be worried,” McGhee said on Thursday.
“But that is not the case. It’s a totally different thing Sunday night and we feel pretty positive about it.”
Scotland are currently fifth in Europe’s qualifying Group F and need a win against Slovenia if they are to have any realistic hope of getting to next year’s World Cup in Russia.
The likes of Chris Martin and Oliver Burke made the line-up against the Canadians, while Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney impressed on his debut.
Yet McGhee doesn’t believe the stand-ins did enough to convince Strachan they are ready for such an important qualifier.
“Last night didn’t really bear a lot of relation to Sunday night. It was an exercise in something else: one or two people getting games; Tom getting a start and introducing him to people,” McGhee said.
“So I don’t really feel there was much that I saw that is relative to Sunday.
“We have known all along the importance of Sunday night and have a totally different way of thinking about Sunday than we did last night.
“I don’t mean we will take it more seriously but last night was a totally different exercise. What happened last night was totally irrelevant to Sunday night.”
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