McLeish needs victory in Albania to ease the pressure
Alex McLeish has had to contend with nine call-offs ahead of the Albania clash (pic: SNS Group)
With the pressure building on Alex McLeish, the Scotland manager needs a good result against Albania in the Nations League to get the fans back onside.
The miserable defeat to Israel in Haifa last time out was a real setback for the Scots, who will be looking to make amends in Shkoder this evening.
McLeish’s cause has not been helped by nine call-offs from his original squad but he’s confident the players he does have at his disposal can rise to the challenge with the Israelis Hampden-bound on Tuesday.
“A win would change the mood,” he said. “We know what good positive results do for the country. We want to give the fans something to cheer at the end of the game and really enjoy what they have seen.
“There’s a lot of goodwill and understanding that I’m trying to build something. There’s a positive perspective on the streets. I’m happy to keep going to do something for the national team and for Scotland.
“We have got a plan. We have got something in mind which we will keep close to our chest.
“We’ve started the week in good fettle. We had a good meeting, longer than normal, with a few things talked about.
“I’m sure we can do it. It’s two games and as we keep saying, nothing else matters.”
McLeish, 59, has urged his players to reproduce the form they have been showing with their clubs, adding: “I think a gauntlet has been thrown down to players to really show what they have been doing at club level and take it into international level.
“We have got a lot of players in good form and a lot of players who are starting to get used to each other and are already used to each other.
“That has somehow all got to gel together. We have got to make that gel together.”
Scotland sit above Albania on goal difference in Group C1, with leaders Israel three points clear.
“Put it into perspective; it will have been four competition games that I would have played,” said McLeish. “That’s it. Every other one was a friendly and four or five of the teams were a wee bit out of our league.
“I look at it in that perspective. I just go forward with resilience, I use that word quite a lot. I believe and trust in this squad. Despite the call-offs, there is terrific camaraderie among the guys who have come to play for Scotland.”
Kick-off in the Loro Borici Stadium is 7.45pm.