Strachan: Champions League players make big difference

first_imgScotland manager Gordon Strachan has spoken of the benefits regular European football can bring to his team as he revealed his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Malta.Celtic’s Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths all look likely to be playing Champions League group stage football this autumn, as does Liverpool’s Andy Robertson.Strachan spoke about the benefits of being up against Europe’s elite and the off the park details that help as well as the tests on the pitch.“It’s a huge thing playing Champions League football,” he said. “I think you go back ten years when Rangers were playing regular European football and Celtic too. “I think both clubs were sending about ten players to the squad, playing regular European football and it makes a huge, huge difference.“It’s a great learning curve for the players in how to deal with big matches and atmosphere and how to travel, how you deal with travelling. It makes a big difference.”There was no place in the squad for Celtic’s Callum McGregor, however, who has continued his form from last season in the Scottish champions’ early games. Strachan said he was not the only player unlucky to miss out and pointed to the quality in the group he’ll take into the double-header. “There’s a lot of players who were close,” he said. “But as I keep saying, if you look at that midfield and the squad then there’s a lot of good, good players in there. “A lot of good players and a lot of players who have done very well for us over the last three or four years who we can rely on and are playing at a good level.”Despite that, the national team boss acknowledged there were some in his squad who were not playing regular club football and revealed some may have slight injury concerns.“There’s a few [not playing regularly],” he said. “It’s probably larger than normal and we’ve had a few club doctors on the phone saying one or two of their players are playing with knocks and might need to have a rest. “And there’s a couple of players who are not in their team at the moment so I made the squad a wee bit larger so we can keep an eye on them, have a look at their fitness and monitor the guys with knocks.”last_img

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