Football: Scottish spirits stand up to gruelling trip

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The Independent Online
CRAIG BROWN was trying to encourage his Scotland squad to remain positive yesterday when they arrived in the Faroe Islands to prepare for tomorrow's Euro 2000 qualifier, which is Brown's 50th match in charge of the national team.

After the squad's a three-and-a-half hour journey from Glasgow by plane, coach and ferry, Brown was intending to take them to Toftir, where tomorrow's game is being played, entailing another two-and-a-half hour round-trip from the team's hotel here in Torshavn.

The Leicester City defender Matt Elliott was upbeat despite the travelling and the culture change - local restaurants offer whale blubber and puffin breast. "No matter what you say it is a great experience visiting these places," he said. "That's the beauty of international football. I will always consider it an honour to be picked by Scotland, no matter where it takes me.

"Come Saturday it will have been three weeks since the close of the English season but I have been keeping myself fit by doing some running," Elliott added. "The team got a good result in Germany and that has given everyone in the squad a lift. But the Faroes are a different proposition and I haven't a clue about them. However, I do know we cannot afford to drop any points on Saturday with the game against the Czech Republic to follow next week."

The Scottish Football Association's president, Jack McGinn, applauded Brown on reaching his milestone. He is delighted with the way the coach has acquitted himself since taking over from Andy Roxburgh in November 1993.

"At the time Craig's appointment was not widely acclaimed," he said. "A number of people thought he was the wrong choice. But he has more than justified our choice. If you look at our results, then they speak for themselves. They are the best set of results ever produced by a Scottish manager and we hope we will be able to continue in the months ahead in the same vein."

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