Strachan putting in the hard yards
Scotland manager Gordon to freshen up his squad fo
ANYONE thinking Gordon Strachan has spent the last four months quietly stew ing over Scotland’s struggles at the star of this already for lorn World Cup qualifying campaign would be very much mistaken. The gap between the 3-0 loss to England at Wembley in November to this week’s double-header agains Canada and Slovenia has given the national team manager plenty of time for contemplation.
But rather than brooding or wal lowing in self-pity, Strachan has used it to cast an eye over potential addi tions to his squad. Call-ups for un capped trio Stuart Armstrong, Tom Cairney and Ryan Fraser, and recalls for Matt Phillips, Jordan Rhodes and Allan McGregor, suggest it has been time well spent.
“I’ve not been too bad, to be honest with you,” he says of his general mindset. “It’s not like you si here thinking: ‘ We must play nex week, I want to play next week. I knew what the timescale was and I hope I’ve used it wisely.
“Looking at the squad you can see I did use my time to find other players and to freshen it up. So I spent my time doing that, watching football. It’s not a bad hobby watch ing football.”
The Canada friendly on Wednes day night offers greater scope for ex perimentation before the competitive action returns when Slovenia come to Hampden next Sunday. None o the six Celtic players in the squad will play in midweek should they start against Dundee this afternoon while those who have struggled for regular action at their clubs may be given the chance to stretch their legs ahead of the more meaningful match at the weekend.
“At the time we arranged the Cana da game there were a few players no getting a game for their clubs and I thought they would benefit from a game one way or another,” explained Strachan. “It has been a long period since the England game and I though it was better to have something else