Despite a challenging a qualification group which sees the Tartan Army up against Croatia, Serbia, the talented Belgium as well as Macedonia and neighbours Wales, Levein was ‘confident’ of qualification for Brazil 2014.
‘There is no bigger incentive for any Scotsman than being part of a major tournament. It’s why I took the job. I was a player in Italia 90 and just thinking about it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. This is the strongest squad I’ve had and we’re ready to go.’
Levein put the improved nature of his squad down to more Scottish players playing in the Premier League: ‘a few years ago there were five or six players playing in the Premier League and now it’s 16 so that’s the indication of level they are playing at. International football is at a similar level to the Premier League so if you can play week in week out at that level they will be able to transfer that to international level.’
Scotland begin their World Cup qualification campaign with a good opportunity to get off to a flying start as they face a double header at home to Serbia on the 8th September before facing another former Yugoslav Republic, Macedonia, three days later.