Scotland v Wales: Gordon Strachan puts faith in players


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The Independent Football

Gordon Strachan will send out a team he can trust in tonight's 2014 World Cup qualifier against Wales at Hampden.

The former Southampton, Celtic and Middlesbrough manager got his tenure as national team boss off to an encouraging start with a 1-0 win over Estonia in a friendly at Pittodrie last month but the visit of the Welsh, who won 2-1 when the two countries met at Cardiff in October, probably represents the Scots' last chance of reaching Rio, if that is not already a forlorn hope.

Scotland are bottom of the table with two points from four games and face a trip to Serbia next week.

One theme of Strachan's media conference at Scotland's Mar Hall Hotel base, on the outskirts of Glasgow, was the trust he has in his squad and it is that trait which he believes could make the difference.

"We are going to put trust in 11 players," he said.

"I could trust 26, that's for sure, but unfortunately I can only pick 11 and that has been hard.

"I have watched them all week and I have enjoyed their enthusiasm.

"It was good to stand back and watch them yesterday.

"If you can't play football any more there is nothing better than watching good players play.

"They know which way we want to play, we know which way we want to attack and defend, there are no grey areas.

"We expect the players we pick to do what they are good at, nothing more and nothing less, within a system that we have been practising all week.

"The hard bit is picking 11 but it is good to know that there are others that you can trust."

The former Scotland, Aberdeen and Manchester United midfielder is relishing the prospect of a lively night at Hampden.

"I am looking forward to it," he said. "It is bring it on time now.

"We have done all the work, let's get the game on now.

"A result means we feel good about ourselves but a result and a performance means we feel very good about ourselves.

"But the win is what we are looking for. Results make people feel better.

"We talk of style and this and that, but as fans and players, we really just want to win.

"If we get the win and we haven't done well then we can analyse it, but I think we look for a win all the time. We are competitive animals."