Levein: Macedonia is not win or bust


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The Independent Online

Craig Levein has described the idea that Scotland's 2014 World Cup qualification hopes are in danger after one Group A game as "nonsense".

Saturday's 0-0 draw against Serbia at Hampden Park has raised the pressure on the Scotland manager ahead of tonight's visit of Macedonia. The match is widely believed to offer a another good chance of three points, but Levein has moved to kill any suggestions that it is already a win-or-bust situation for his side.

"It is nonsense to be talking about qualification or non-qualification just now," he said. "We still have 27 points to play for. We are very positive about what we are doing."

In the same group, Wales face Serbia tonight, having lost their opening qualification match against Belgium 2-0. Chris Coleman's side go into the match having failed to find the net in their last four games, while their hosts have failed to score in five of their last six fixtures. That may suggest a goalless draw, but captain Aaron Ramsey is confident Wales will soon rediscover their touch in front of goal.

"We haven't scored in our last few games but we have still created opportunities," said the Arsenal midfielder. "We have hit the bar a couple of times, we are creating but not taking our chances."

Manager Michael O'Neill has warned Northern Ireland fans not to expect a walkover at home to Luxembourg tonight.

The visitors are rated 23 places above O'Neill's side in the Fifa rankings, but a mixture of home advantage and historical superiority mean Northern Ireland go into their second World Cup qualifier as favourites. O'Neill said: "In their last few games they've been beaten 2-1 by Georgia, 1-0 by Switzerland and they beat Macedonia 2-1.

"That gives you an indication that this is not a team, with all due respect, that's a San Marino or a Liechtenstein that is getting beaten 7-0 or 8-0 in qualifying games."