Scotland expect tough Spain match

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The Independent Football

Gary Caldwell will take no notice of Spain's lengthening injury list ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifying clash at Hampden next Tuesday night.

Already without Barcelona midfielder Xavi due to tendinitis, Spain have now lost Sevilla winger Jesus Navas to a thigh injury, Liverpool striker Fernando Torres with an adductor strain and Barcelona striker Pedro with a hamstring complaint.

But fit-again Wigan defender Caldwell, who has been drafted back in to the Scotland squad by manager Craig Levein for the double-header which starts with the match against the Czech Republic in Prague on Friday, said: "I played against him (Torres) last season but Spain are a top team and I'm sure they have three or four strikers who can come in and be of a very high standard.

"So it's going to be a very difficult night.

"But I think the Spain game is one we can look forward to.

"It is not often the world champions come to Hampden and we can go in to the game with no fear and go and play them.

"When you look back over recent years, even when we have not qualified, we have beaten Holland, we have drawn with Germany and beaten France so we do have a good record against bigger teams.

"But I think Spain are an altogether different challenge.

"They are probably one of the best national teams there has been for a long time.

"It's a 'free game' and that's why I think the Friday night game is more important

"Both are big games but in terms of qualifying Friday is probably the bigger game.

"If we can go there and win then it will be a massive boost for us and knock them back."

Levein is concerning himself only with the game in Prague and hopes to pile the pressure on the Czech Republic, who suffered a surprise 1-0 home defeat by Lithuania in their first Group I game.

"They have started their campaign with what, in their eyes, is a pretty disappointing result," the Scotland boss said.

"I'm pretty sure they would have marked the home game against Lithuania as a win so they are chasing it a little bit and I feel that if we can do our jobs properly, particularly defensively, then we can put added pressure on them.

"But this is an extremely difficult game for us.

"They were extremely unlucky against Lithuania. They missed a barrowload of chances, a penalty and there was some great goalkeeping.

"So they are a top class side."