Scotland desperate to end two-year Hampden horror

AFP, GLASGOW, Scotland

Tue, Oct 15, 2013 - Page 18

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan says his side do not fear playing at Hampden as they look to end a two-year winless run at the national stadium.

The Scots will bring the curtain down on another unsuccessful World Cup qualification campaign when Croatia visit Hampden today.

Strachan’s side have not won at the national stadium in more than two years and have only collected two points from their four previous home matches in the campaign.

“It is just us, we have to play better,” Strachan said.

“We have to use what we have — plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to work when we haven’t got the ball. And we need to use that to create more space for us when we have the ball,” he said.

“I don’t detect any fear in the players at playing at Hampden. It just needs us to use the ball better and use our energy to create space for players and things like that,” Strachan said. “That is what we have been working on all week.”

“They are a good bunch of lads to work with. Their enthusiasm in training has been very good so it should be there when you come to a game, because that is the best part of it,” he said.

Scotland’s record at Hampden may be poor, but away from home Strachan’s side have collected wins in Croatia and Macedonia.

And the Scotland boss said he had been working on systems with his players to end the Hampden hoodoo.

“We have been working on things to create space when we are further up the pitch, to use our athletic ability,” Strachan said.

“There are systems away from home we think we can rely on,” he said. “I wouldn’t say we’ve cracked it because you never know what’s round the corner, but there are things we are comfortable with.”

“At home I want to see more energy off the ball, give the player in possession more options. That involves lots of work,” Strachan said.

“I’ve always said it’s not nights out or going to the go-karts or playing golf that makes team spirit; it’s winning,” he said.