Wales coach John Hartson wary of Scotland threat


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The Independent Football

Wales coach John Hartson has warned that Scotland may find it easier to perform at Cardiff City Stadium tomorrow than they have done in their previous two games in the “cauldron” of Hampden Park.

The Scots arrive in the Welsh capital for the World Cup qualifying clash having registered two home draws so far in Group A, 0-0 with Serbia and 1-1 with Macedonia.

That somewhat disappointing start by Craig Levein's men might appear encouraging to Wales, who are looking to kickstart their own campaign after suffering a 2-0 home loss to Belgium and humiliating 6-1 drubbing in Serbia.

Hartson certainly hopes they can do so on Friday, although the former Dragons striker, who played for five seasons in Scotland with Celtic, believes Chris Coleman's team need to be mindful that their opponents could well thrive on the fact they will be playing away from the intense environment of their own ground.

"We've seen both of their games," Hartson said.

"We have watched the videos and I think Scotland may well feel they can perform better away from home.

"I've played at Hampden Park during my time at Celtic and it can be quite hostile there.

"I just think that playing in front of a home crowd can sometimes add to the pressure. Some players cope with it, some struggle.

"Scotland have drawn two games that were slightly disappointing from the point of view of their fans, who would have expected them to win certainly one of them.

"Maybe coming to Cardiff will take a little bit of pressure off them because they are away from home, rather than playing in that cauldron at Hampden."

The Belgium and Serbia results mean Wales have lost all five of their games since Coleman succeeded the late Gary Speed as manager, a sequence in which they have netted only once, Gareth Bale's effort in the last match.

The Dragons are in urgent need of finding some goalscoring form, although Hartson feels it is "not a major worry" at the moment.

The 37-year-old, who scored 14 times in 51 caps, said: "It is a concern that you don't get goals from your frontmen, but it's not only your strikers you need to look at.

"It is the whole team we look at, and when the team is on the front foot and playing well, the goals will come.

"If we weren't really creating chances I'd be more worried. Hopefully on Friday we can create plenty of chances, get the crowd behind us and we can score some goals."

Hartson is confident both Bale (heel) and Adam Matthews (ankle) will be fit for the contest.