Christophe Berra denies Scotland must beat Macedonia

 

Scotland defender Christophe Berra is comfortable with the pressure that comes with the World Cup qualifier against Macedonia tomorrow night - but refuted suggestions it was a must-win game.

The goalless draw with Serbia on Saturday in Scotland's Group A opener has increased the importance of taking three points in the second part of the Hampden doubleheader, against a Macedonia side who are fifth seeds in the group.

Top seeds Croatia and highly-fancied Belgium both started the group with wins but Berra said: "There are 10 games, it's a bit silly saying if we don't get three points, it's game over.

"Look at the teams in the group, there are going to be points taken everywhere.

"It's going to be a marathon but if we get three points we will be looking forward to the October games.

"We're looking to win the game on Tuesday and if we do that it will put us in good stead for future games."

Some Scotland fans greeted the final whistle with boos on Saturday and, although the Hampden crowd is sure to be behind their team from the start tomorrow, they could become restless if the hosts do not get a first-half goal.

But Wolves defender Berra said: "Footballers, no matter if you're playing at international level or club level, there are always expectations and pressure and we have just got to deal with it.

"As soon as you cross the white line, you go out and try to win the game.

"This is no different, we've been under pressure before and we'll just have to deal with it."

Macedonia held Croatia for 69 minutes in Zagreb on Friday until Nikica Jelavic headed the only goal, and the visitors came close to taking a surprise lead in an impressive first-half display.

"Macedonia are no mugs, they have got top players who play at top European clubs," Berra said.

"I have played them before and it was a difficult game. It's going to be the same.

"They will be coming here and looking to spoil things for the home support.

"But if we play as we did on Saturday then we have more chance of winning than losing."

PA

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