Alex Hendrikson previews a tough night ahead for Scotland.
Playing Craig Gordon and Alan MacGregor in goal together would actually solve one of the few positive selection dilemmas Craig Levein faces as Scotland boss, goalkeeper being probably being the only position where Scotland currently have an embarrassment of riches.
After fielding no strikers in a 4-6-0 formation against Czech Republic on Friday night, short of fielding more custodians, it would be hard for Levein to set his side up any more defensively when they face far superior opposition tonight. The only changes he can make then, are attacking.
Levein’s ultra defensive set up in Prague led to almost universal criticism and ridicule from the press. The siege mentality of the cornered is probably setting in and the players he sends out to face the World Champions tonight will probably feel very similar when the tiqui-taca of the Spanish starts grinding into gear.
Hampden is sold out and a vociferous 50,000 strong Tartan Army will not allow their side to simply sit back and await the inevitable. Tonight, Scotland must have a go. In his pre-match press conference Levein has said as much, claiming to have identified several possible chinks in the Spanish armour. This writer waits with considerable interest to see what these might be.
There are some, albeit small, causes for optimism and it should be remembered, that in the recent past Scotland have pulled off two shock wins over France. Xavi Hernandez, very much the puppeteer at the heart of the World Champion’s passing game, will miss out and Scotland may have more of a chance to upset the rhythm of their illustrious opponents. Playing for another 0-0 will end in defeat, and the Scots best chance is to hit Spain on the counter-attack.
The Scotland boss is keeping his cards close to his chest on team selection, but the side he sends out should be instilled with the mindset to get forward in numbers when Spain over-extend themselves in attack. Starting the in-form Kenny Miller is surely a must if Scotland are to have any chance of causing one of the great upsets.