Still Hard Work To Do

Last updated : 07 September 2010 By Ed_ScottishFitba

Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston is not expecting a cricket score to be scored tonight against Liechtenstein at Hampden tonight. Following the one point picked up in Kaunas in the opening EURO2012 qualifying Group I game against Lithuania on Friday, Craig Levein's side are favourites to pick up another three against the section minnows. Houston insists victory is the priority and not the number of goals required to secure the points.

He said: "You never get an easy game at international level. What we will come up against is a team who will be as well organised as they possibly can be. We know what we are up against, we know it will be difficult. It would be nice to go out and score a lot of goals and if it is comfortable then great. However, I don't think you can be disrespectful of any country. If you put 11 players behind the ball, sitting on their 18-yard line, you still have to create and score goals. On some occasions it will be difficult. You see it with big clubs against little clubs - teams can make it difficult for you. The best that can happen is maybe that we score an early goal. But we can't put too much pressure on trying to score early goals, we just have to make sure we win the match and whether the goals come in the first half or the second half, it doesn't really matter. We are fully focused, the players' heads are up and we are looking forward to it. We will be delighted with getting three points."

Houston preferred not to contemplate the calamity that would be defeat. Craig Levein's number two said: "You have got to win your home matches if you want go any further than the Euro qualifying campaign. This is an opportunity for a home win, Hampden is our home ground and the fans are behind us. Losing the match against Liechtenstein would be poor - there is no denying that - but we are not thinking along those terms, we are thinking of winning the match. The game is slightly different in that we will have most of the ball. But every game creates its own problems but it's up to the manager to pick the team who will score goals."

To that end, Houston hinted that both James McFadden and Kris Boyd, could come back into the line-up. McFadden was left out of the starting 11 in Kaunas and came on as a second-half substitute whereas Boyd remained on the bench even though the visitors were looking for the win. Houston said: "I think there will be one or two changes from Friday night's team, whether it is one of them or two, I don't know but I would expect at least one. What we can't forget is that we built a solid foundation by not losing any goals away from home, I think, for the first time in three years. At the same time you have to be more attack-minded because you need to win the match. There is a balance and you have to look at the big picture; who are the best players to score goals but also not concede any and that's the way we have to think."  

Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)

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