Saturday, October 08, 2011

Scotland: Tonight's team

Breaking with his normal routine of announcing his team the day before the game, Craig Levein has just announced the Scotland team for this evening's match.

Given that we knew Kenny Miller was out and that Darren Fletcher looked likely to play, you get absolutely no prize if you had already guessed this starting XI:

McGregor, Hutton, Caldwell, Berra, Bardsley, Fletcher, Bannan, Morrison, Adam, Naismith, Mackail-Smith

4-5-1? Resolutely.

Big night for Craig Mackail-Smith who makes his first start after a cameo against Brazil and about 30 minutes against Denmark in August.

He's already got five goals for Brighton after stepping up to the Championship this season. He's also now been round this squad long enough to realise exactly what is expected of the lone striker.

As ever his effectiveness in that role will also depend on the support offered by his midfielders.

Gone, perhaps, are the days when a Scottish striker would see a trip to somewhere like Liechtenstein as a chance to fill his boots.

But Mackail-Smith's effectiveness in this role - as we've found with Miller - need not be measured in goals scored. If others are there to take up the slack.

We'll see.

Weather reports from Liechtenstein are poor: rain, cold, a chance of snow. We should be used to that.