CROCK AND ROLL! Caldwell: Injuries will prove Scots’ squad is strong enough BRITAIN’S NEW SPORTS BETTING PAPER!
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GARY CALDWELL believes Scotland can use the visit of Australia to prove they have the strength in depth to challenge for a place at the 2014 World Cup finals.
Scotland suffered four withdrawals ahead of tonight’s friendly with Phil Bardsley, Graham Dorrans, James Forrest and Jamie Mackie all pulling out. With Scott Brown unavailable because of a hip problem and Darren Fletcher still to return to action, Caldwell will captain the side at Easter Road.
Kenny Miller and Barry Robson are being rested following their moves to Vancouver Whitecaps, while Steven Whittaker and Craig Mackail-Smith were injured when Craig Levein picked his squad.
Huddersfield and Scotland U21 striker Jordan Rhodes will be handed his first start while Rangers midfielder Ian Black and Leeds forward Ross McCormack have both been drafted in.
Levein wants the game as a chance to get the 5-1 defeat by the USA out of their system before the start of the World Cup qualifying campaign against Serbia at Hampden on September 8.
Although the home fans will expect a positive result, Australia are ranked 24 in the world – 22 places above Scotland.
But Caldwell believes the Scots will show they have the depth to get results when not at full strength.
“Over the last few years we’ve shown there’s a bigger group than the 22 who can be picked in a squad,” the Wigan centre-back said.
“You just need to look at the squad list to see the amount of players playing in the Premier League in England and the Championship, which is a fantastic league.
“I think the overall quality of the players that are getting picked is better than the groups I’ve been involved with in the past.
“But it’s no good just saying it, we have to go out and show it in every game we play.
“The qualifiers are different. We had a good run in friendlies in the last campaign and couldn’t quite take that form into qualifiers.
“Hopefully we’ve learned from that and can use the experience in this campaign.
“Obviously we were very disappointing in America. We want to pick ourselves up and show we’re a better team than that.
“The performance will be important but also we want to get back to winning ways.”
CONFIDENT: Gary Caldwell