Houston wary of weakened Czechs' reaction to defeat

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The Independent Football

Peter Houston warned the Tartan Army against reading too much into the Czech Republic's apparent problems ahead of Saturday's vital Euro 2012 qualifier at Hampden Park.

The Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech is out with a knee injury, leaving coach Michal Bilek to choose between two uncapped keepers – Ales Hruska and Jan Lastuvka – and Jaroslav Drobny, who has played only four times.

Bilek's side are also coming off a 3-0 friendly defeat in Norway and while the Scots lost 1-0 in Prague earlier in the campaign, there is a growing sense of anticipation ahead of the game from which Craig Levein's side must take three points – and beat Lithuania next Tuesday night at Hampden as well – if they are to have a realistic chance of grabbing second spot in the group and a play-off place.

However, Levein's assistant, while not wishing to dampen down growing enthusiasm, said: "The Czechs had a poor result against Norway but please don't underestimate them because of that.

"In many ways it could make them more determined to do well and it might be the kick up the backside that they were maybe needing to get their minds focused again," Houston added.

"They have had a blow with their goalkeeper missing, I will be honest enough to say that. He plays an awful lot of games for them and the second and third goalkeepers don't play a lot. He is a big influence in the team.

"But we will be very wary of the Czechs, they are a quality nation and we know that they have quality players. So we expect a very tough game."