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Whats all the Hurley BURLEY about Wilson


mark wilson27

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June 30th 2009: After George Burley was sacked as Scotland manager the FA struggled to find anyone interested in the National job. After much searching they called upon me, Mark Wilson the man who had brought glory to England and Wales. The main question is will the Scots accept a damn Englishman as there manager

July 1st: After all the messing around with the press it was time to get down to the business of running the National side. We are currently ranked 30th in the World and third in the qualifying table on equal points with FYR Macedonia. We luckily have a game in hand. There is no chance of catching the Dutch but we must get that second spot and hope for a kind Play Off draw.

The Qualifying Table looks like this :-

| Pos   | Inf   | Team          |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Holland       |       | 7     | 7     | 0     | 0     | 16    | 2     | +14   | 21    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   |       | FYR Macedonia |       | 6     | 2     | 1     | 3     | 4     | 7     | -3    | 7     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
[b]| 3rd   |       | SCOTLAND      |       | 5     | 2     | 1     | 2     | 4     | 6     | -2    | 7     | [/b]
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Iceland       |       | 7     | 1     | 1     | 5     | 6     | 12    | -6    | 4     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Norway        |       | 5     | 0     | 3     | 2     | 2     | 5     | -3    | 3     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

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The qualifying story so far is as follows:-

6/9/08: FYR Macedonia 1-0 Scotland

10/9/08: Iceland 1-2 Scotland

11/10/08; Scotland 0-0 Norway

28/3/09: Holland 3-0 Scotland

01/04/09: Scotland 2-1 Iceland

My first game in charge will be away to Norway in the World Cup Qualifier, however I’ve hastily put together a friendly four days later with England so I can get a good look at the players

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August 6th: I know had to pick my first squad for the games against Norway and England. The squad is as follows:-

| Pkd      | Inf      | Name             | Position      | Club       | Caps     | Goals    | Age      | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Neil Alexander   | GK            | Rangers    | 3        | -        | 31       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | David Marshall   | GK            | Cardiff    | 2        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Iain Turner      | GK            | Everton    | -        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Paul Dixon       | D L           | Dundee Utd | -        | -        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Ian Murray       | D LC, DM, M C | Hibernian  | 6        | -        | 28       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Christophe Berra | D C           | Wolves     | 4        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Gary Caldwell    | D C           | Celtic     | 27       | 2        | 27       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Steven Caldwell  | D C           | Burnley    | 9        | -        | 28       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Zander Diamond   | D C           | Aberdeen   | -        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Alan Hutton      | D/WB R        | Tottenham  | 10       | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Steven Whittaker | D/WB R        | Rangers    | -        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Danny Fox        | D/WB L        | Celtic     | -        | -        | 23       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Lee Wallace      | D/WB L        | Hearts     | -        | -        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Darren Fletcher  | M C           | Man Utd    | 42       | 4        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Kevin McDonald   | M C           | Burnley    | -        | -        | 20       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Kevin Thomson    | M C           | Tottenham  | 1        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Scott Brown      | AM RC         | Celtic     | 9        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Shaun Maloney    | AM RLC        | Celtic     | 11       | 1        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Kris Commons     | AM LC, F C    | Derby      | 4        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | John Fleck       | AM LC, F C    | Rangers    | -        | -        | 17       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | James McFadden   | AM L, F C     | Birmingham | 42       | 13       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Steven Fletcher  | F C           | Burnley    | 3        | 1        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Alex MacDonald   | F C           | Falkirk    | -        | -        | 19       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Kris Boyd        | ST            | Rangers    | 14       | 7        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Kenny Miller     | ST            | Rangers    | 42       | 11       | 29       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Garry O'Connor   | ST            | Birmingham | 15       | 5        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

August 11th: My first bit of team business sees me change the captains as I brought in Darren Fletcher as the new Captain in replacement of Stephen McManus and I have also changed the Vice Captain as Kris Boyd takes over from David Weir

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Always fancied doing a Scotland story but never got round too it, so I thought what the hell might aswell do it

August 12th: Norway (42) v Scotland: World Cup 2010 Qualifying Group 9 (6/8)

My first game in charge and I knew only win would do. However Norway started the better and on the 12th minute they had there first chance as J.Carew ran onto a A.Tettey throughball but his effort was well saved by N.Alexander who bravely dived at the feet of the striker. Nine minutes later Norway had another chance as J.Carew again came close with another fine effort but N.Alexander again saved well. On the 27th minute though we managed to take the lead as we countered a Norway attack, S.Maloney ran down the wing and crossed in for K.Boyd to bravely nod into the net past J.Knudsen. On the 38th minute Norway had another chance as J.Carew again came close with a thunderous effort but A.Hutton diverted the ball wide of the post.

Half Time Score 0-1

The second half saw Norway bringing on J.Inge Hioland for V.Demidov. On the 53rd minute though we had our next chance as K.Boyd played a one two with S.Fletcher but his effort was easily saved by J.Knudsen. Four minutes later Norway made another change as T.Hogli was replaced by B.Helge Riise. Just after the hour I made a change with J.Fleck coming on for S.Fletcher and Norway also made a change with T.Helstad coming on for T.Elyounoussi. On the 67th minute I made another change as S.Brown replaced the poor J.McFadden. Soon after Norway had another chance to score as a slip by S.Caldwell saw C.Grindheim coming close but N.Alexander again saved well. Norway were battering us now and on the 83rd minute they had another chance with J.Carew coming close with what should of been a simple tap in but he fluffed the ball under pressure from C.Berra. On the stroke of full time they had another chance as A.Tettey rattled the upright from just inside the area.

Norway 0

Scotland 1 K.Boyd 27

Norway; J.Knudsen , T.Hogli (57-B.Helge Riise), B.Hangeland, Pa-Modou Kah, V.Demidov (45-J.Inge Hoiland), T.Elyounoussi (62-T.Helstad). M.Gamst Pedersen, A.Tettey , C.Grindheim, J.Carew

Scotland: N.Alexander, A.Hutton, I.Murray, S.Caldwell, C.Berra, S.Maloney, K.Commons, D.Fletcher, J.McFadden (67-S.Brown), K.Boyd, S.Fletcher (62-J.Fleck)

Post Match Review: A good three points to start my managerial reign, however we really need to keep the ball better and make sure we stop losing silly balls. But three points is three points and we are clear in second place.

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World Cup 2010 Qualifying Group 9

| Pos   | Inf   | Team          |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Holland       |       | 7     | 7     | 0     | 0     | 16    | 2     | +14   | 21    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
[b]| 2nd   |       | SCOTLAND      |       | 6     | 3     | 1     | 2     | 5     | 6     | -1    | 10    | [/b]
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | FYR Macedonia |       | 6     | 2     | 1     | 3     | 4     | 7     | -3    | 7     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Iceland       |       | 7     | 1     | 1     | 5     | 6     | 12    | -6    | 4     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Norway        |       | 6     | 0     | 3     | 3     | 2     | 6     | -4    | 3     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

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August 16th: Scotland v England (7): Friendly

We now faced the auld enemy in this hastily arranged friendly. We started quite well and on the 9th minute we had the first chance of the game as K.Miller ran into the area and fired towards goal but C.Kirkland saved well. On the 20th minute though the first goal was scored as A.Hutton brought down A.Young just outside the area. F.Lampard stepped up and fired in a great free kick to beat N.Alexander with ease. Seven minutes later we grabbed the equaliser as K.Boyd showed his strength to barge his way through the English defence and fire past the keeper. Just before the break we had another chance as K.Boyd fed a great ball to K.Miller who fired just wide of the post when he really should of scored.

Half Time Score 1-1

I made a few changes to start the half with as A.Hutton, J.Fleck and K.Miller were replaced by S.Brown, D.Fox and G.O’Connor. However the half didn’t start to well for us as on the 53rd minute England took the lead as J.Terry headed in from a F.Lampard corner. After the goal I brought on D.Marshall in place of N.Alexander. Seven minutes later we had our first chance of the half as K.Boyd ran into the area and fired towards goal but again C.Kirkland saved well. On the 71st minute we had our next chance with D.Fletcher curling a great ball into the area and G.O’Connor headed towards goal but W.Bridge was on hand to head the ball over the crossbar. On the 79th minute England stretched there lead as J.Defoe turned I.Murray with ease and ran towards goal where he fired an unstoppable effort into the net past D.Marshall. Eight minutes later we came close to pulling a goal back as K.Commons fired in from the edge of the area but J.Terry was on hand to block the effort and clear. On the stroke of full time England fired in another goal as J.Defoe beat my defence to a long ball to fire past my keeper.

Scotland 1 K.Boyd 27

England 4 F.Lampard 20, J.Terry 53, J.Defoe 79, 90+1

Scotland: N.Alexander (54-D.Marshall), A.Hutton (45-S.Brown), I.Murray, S.Caldwell, C.Berra, S.Maloney, K.Commons, D.Fletcher, J.Fleck (45-D.Fox), K.Boyd, K.Miller (45-G.O‘Connor)

England: C.Kirkland, G.Johnson (70-M.Carrick), W.Bridge, R.Ferdinand, J.Terry, G.Barry (63-W.Brown), F.Lampard (90-T.Walcott), J.Cole (63-J.Jenas), A.Young (45-J.Defoe), S.Gerrard, W.Rooney

Post Match Review: It was a heavy defeat but in truth we didn’t deserve to lose by that much. My players didn’t give England much and with alittle more concentration I can see this team going places.

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August 30th: I now had to choose the squad for the games against FYR Macedonia and Holland

| Pkd      | Inf      | Name             | Position      | Club       | Goals    | Caps     | Age      | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Neil Alexander   | GK            | Rangers    | -        | 5        | 31       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Craig Gordon     | GK            | Sunderland | -        | 36       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Iain Turner      | GK            | Everton    | -        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | David Marshall   | GK            | Cardiff    | -        | 3        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Paul Dixon       | D L           | Dundee Utd | -        | -        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Ian Murray       | D LC, DM, M C | Leeds      | -        | 8        | 28       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Steven Caldwell  | D C           | Burnley    | -        | 11       | 28       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Gary Caldwell    | D C           | Celtic     | 2        | 27       | 27       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Stephen McManus  | D C           | Celtic     | 1        | 13       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Christophe Berra | D C           | Wolves     | -        | 6        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Zander Diamond   | D C           | Aberdeen   | -        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Steven Whittaker | D/WB R        | Rangers    | -        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Alan Hutton      | D/WB R        | Tottenham  | -        | 12       | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Danny Fox        | D/WB L        | Celtic     | -        | 1        | 23       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Lee Wallace      | D/WB L        | Hearts     | -        | -        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Darren Fletcher  | M C           | Man Utd    | 4        | 44       | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Kevin Thomson    | M C           | Tottenham  | -        | 1        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Kevin McDonald   | M C           | Burnley    | -        | -        | 20       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Shaun Maloney    | AM RLC        | Celtic     | 1        | 13       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Kris Commons     | AM LC, F C    | Derby      | -        | 6        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | James McFadden   | AM L, F C     | Birmingham | 13       | 43       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | John Fleck       | AM LC, F C    | Rangers    | -        | 2        | 18       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Steven Fletcher  | F C           | Burnley    | 1        | 4        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Kenny Miller     | ST            | Rangers    | 11       | 43       | 29       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Garry O'Connor   | ST            | Birmingham | 5        | 16       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Kris Boyd        | ST            | Rangers    | 9        | 16       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

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September 5th: Scotland v FYR Macedonia (57): World Cup 2010 Qualifying Group 9 (7/8)

We knew if we beat Macedonia it was almost guarantee our play off spot. My players started well and it wasn’t long till we had our first chance as K.Boyd rattled the upright from the edge of the area after the opposition defence failed to deal with his run. On the 27th minute we had our next chance as K.Boyd fed the ball to the feet of J.Fleck who fired towards goal but his effort was well saved by the Macedonian keeper. With two minutes remaining in the half we grabbed the lead as K.Miller rifled in a powerful effort from the corner of the area to send our fans wild.

Half Time Score 1-0

The second half saw my players firing out the blocks and on the 50th minute we doubled our lead as S.Maloney curled in a great effort from in side the area to beat the keeper at his far post. On the 54th minute I made a couple of changes with L.Wallace and K.Commons coming on for P.Dixon and J.McFadden. Two minutes later we grabbed a third goal as K.Boyd again fired in for my team with a simple tap in from six yards after a fluff in the goal by O.Nikolov. We carried on pressing forward and on the 69th minute we should of grabbed another goal as J.Fleck again came close with a brave header which the Macedonian keeper missed but unfortunately it rattled the crossbar and went out. Macedonia never really got near the ball and on the 88th minute we should of grabbed another goal but K.Boyd somehow missed what in his books should of been an easy goal as he fired wide of the post.

Scotland 3 K.Miller 43, S.Maloney 50, K.Boyd 56

FYR Macedonia 0

Scotland: C.Gordon, A.Hutton, P.Dixon (54-L.Wallace), S.McManus, G.Caldwell, S.Maloney, J.McFadden (54-K.Commons), D.Fletcher, J.Fleck, K.Boyd, K.Miller

FYR Macedonia: O.Nikolov, R.Popov (68-V.Grozdanoski), G.Popov, A.Vasoski, N.Noveski (57-G.Sedloski), G.Pandev, A.Stojkov, A.Mitreski, I.Jancevski, A.Polozani (51-V.Lazarevski), G.Maznov

Post Match Review; An excellent performance by the players and I was happy with the way we dominated much of the play. What’s even better is that the play off spot is looking more and more like ours. We just need to make sure Holland don’t do us one in the next game

Group 9 Result: Iceland 2-1 Norway

September 6th: Injury news sees Gary O’Connor fracturing his wrist, I decided not to bother to call up a replacement

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September 9th: Scotland v Holland (3): World Cup Qualifying Group 9 (8/8)

Holland started the better as they kept out possession of the ball limited. On the 18th minute they had there first shot as J.Heitinga crossed in for R.van Persie but he somehow managed to fluff his volleyed and the ball went well wide of the post. Eleven minutes later they had another chance as R.van Persie was again guilty of spurning an easy chance as he beat my defence but his tame effort was easily saved by C.Gordon. Just before the break we had our first chance as J.Fleck crossed the ball into the area for K.Boyd who nodded the ball towards goal but K.Vermeer saved well.

Half Time Score 0-0

I started the half by bringing on K.Commons and S.Whittaker for S.Maloney and K.Miller. We had the better of the opening spell and on the 56th minute we had the chance to open the scoring as D.Fletcher was brought down in the area by K.Jaliens for a penalty. K.Boyd stepped up for the kick and fired towards goal but K.Vermeer guessed right and saved the ball with ease. A minute later Holland made there first change as R.van Persie was replaced by N.de Jong. Four minutes later they made another change with R.Babel coming on for R.Drenthe. On the 68th minute we had another chance to score as K.Boyd again came close with a powerful effort which saw the Dutch keeper scrambling across his line too save. On the 79th minute Holland had the final chance of the game as S.McManus brought down K.Jan Huntelaar in the area for a penalty, D.Kuyt stepped up for the kick and fired towards goal but C.Gordon saved well with his feet and cleared the ball to give us a good draw against Holland

Scotland 0

Holland 0

Scotland: C.Gordon, A.Hutton, L.Wallace, S.McManus, G.Caldwell, S.Maloney (45-K.Commons), J.McFadden, D.Fletcher, J.Fleck, K.Boyd, K.Miller (45-S.Whittaker)

Holland: K.Vermeer, K.Jaliens, E.Braafheid, K.Boulahrouz, J.Heitinga, M.van Bommel, D.Kuyt, R.Drenthe (61-R.Babel), C.Seedorf (70-R.van der Vaart), K.Jan Huntelaar, R.van Persie(57-N.de Jong)

Post Match Review: We did ourselves proud as we kept the Dutch at bay in the first half and in the second half we matched them in every department. Hopefully this result will be the building block to take the team onto better things. Now we just have to see who we will get in the Play Offs

Group 9 Result: Norway 3-0 FYR Macedonia

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World Cup 2010 Qualification: Group 9

| Pos   | Inf   | Team          |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Holland       |       | 8     | 7     | 1     | 0     | 16    | 2     | +14   | 22    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
[b]| 2nd   |       | SCOTLAND      |       | 8     | 4     | 2     | 2     | 8     | 6     | +2    | 14    | [/b]
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | FYR Macedonia |       | 8     | 2     | 1     | 5     | 4     | 13    | -9    | 7     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Iceland       |       | 8     | 2     | 1     | 5     | 8     | 13    | -5    | 7     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Norway        |       | 8     | 1     | 3     | 4     | 6     | 8     | -2    | 6     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

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October 10th: Japan (41) v Scotland: Friendly

We started quite slowly and on the 19th minute Japan had the first chance of the game as K.Mori showed some pace to beat D.Fox to the ball but his final effort wasn’t great and I.Turner saved well. Eight minutes later we had our first chance as S.Fletcher ran into the area to fire towards goal but his effort went wide of the post. On the 37th minute Japan had there next chance as J.Miyazaki headed just wide of the post after a great cross by H.Masuda. On the stroke of half time Japan grabbed the lead as S.Saito fired past the keeper after C.Berra failed to deal with an easy ball.

Half Time Score 1-0

The second half started alot better for us as my players decided to actually play and on the 54th minute we grabbed the equaliser as S.Fletcher ran onto a K.McDonald pass to fire past K.Tanaka in goal. It got even better a minute later as D.Fletchers cross was diverted into the net by Y.Sato for an own goal. On the 58th minute I made three changes as C.Berra, K.Boyd and C.Fletcher were all replaced by G.Caldwell, D.Riordan and K.Commons. One of the changes paid dividends as on the 68th minute we went further into the lead as D.Riordan headed in a D.Fletcher cross. Japan were looking out of the game as we controlled much of the play and on the 89th minute we should of grabbed another goal as K.Commons fired in a powerful effort from the edge of the area but his shot was tipped over by K.Tanaka.

Japan 1 S.Saito 45

Scotland 3 S.Fletcher 54, Y.Sato og 55, D.Riordan 68

Japan: K.Tanaka, K.Ikeda (81-K.Sugimoto), Y.Moriwaki (17-Y.Sato), K.Ueda (81-M.Yamada), K.Harada (56-M.Yamaguchi), H.Ito (45-K.Yoneda), H.Masuda, R.Seki, S.Saito (45-M.Koyama), J.Miyazaki, K.Mori

Scotland: I.Turner, S.Whittaker, D.Fox, Z.Diamond, C.Berra (58-G.Caldwell), R.Snodgrass, J.Fleck, D.Fletcher, K.McDonald, K.Boyd (58-D.Riordan), S.Fletcher (58-K.Commons)

Post Match Review; A good second half performance after a very sloppy first forty five minutes. It was as they say a game of two halves, but if were going to get anywhere in the footballing world the players are going to have to play the same all the way through the game

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October 14th: With all the World Cup 2010 European Qualifications the Group Tables looked like this :-

World Cup 2010 Qualification

Group 1:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team     |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Denmark  |       | 10    | 7     | 1     | 2     | 16    | 5     | +11   | 22    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   | Pl    | Portugal |       | 10    | 5     | 4     | 1     | 19    | 9     | +10   | 19    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | Sweden   |       | 10    | 5     | 3     | 2     | 14    | 7     | +7    | 18    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Hungary  |       | 10    | 5     | 2     | 3     | 14    | 9     | +5    | 17    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Albania  |       | 10    | 1     | 3     | 6     | 5     | 11    | -6    | 6     | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th   |       | Malta    |       | 10    | 0     | 1     | 9     | 2     | 29    | -27   | 1     | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

Group 2:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team        |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Switzerland |       | 10    | 7     | 2     | 1     | 18    | 8     | +10   | 23    | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   | Pl    | Greece      |       | 10    | 7     | 1     | 2     | 23    | 8     | +15   | 22    | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | Israel      |       | 10    | 5     | 4     | 1     | 20    | 10    | +10   | 19    | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Latvia      |       | 10    | 4     | 1     | 5     | 13    | 15    | -2    | 13    | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Moldova     |       | 10    | 1     | 1     | 8     | 9     | 18    | -9    | 4     | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th   |       | Luxembourg  |       | 10    | 1     | 1     | 8     | 3     | 27    | -24   | 4     | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

Group 3:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team           |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Slovakia       |       | 10    | 6     | 2     | 2     | 22    | 10    | +12   | 20    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   |       | Czech Republic |       | 10    | 5     | 3     | 2     | 19    | 5     | +14   | 18    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | N.Ireland      |       | 10    | 5     | 1     | 4     | 13    | 10    | +3    | 16    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Poland         |       | 10    | 4     | 3     | 3     | 22    | 12    | +10   | 15    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Slovenia       |       | 10    | 4     | 3     | 3     | 15    | 8     | +7    | 15    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th   |       | San Marino     |       | 10    | 0     | 0     | 10    | 1     | 47    | -46   | 0     | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

Group 4:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team          |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Germany       |       | 10    | 9     | 1     | 0     | 32    | 4     | +28   | 28    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   | Pl    | Russia        |       | 10    | 6     | 2     | 2     | 19    | 6     | +13   | 20    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | Finland       |       | 10    | 5     | 2     | 3     | 15    | 13    | +2    | 17    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Wales         |       | 10    | 4     | 1     | 5     | 7     | 11    | -4    | 13    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Liechtenstein |       | 10    | 1     | 1     | 8     | 2     | 24    | -22   | 4     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th   |       | Azerbaijan    |       | 10    | 0     | 3     | 7     | 2     | 19    | -17   | 3     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

Group 5:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team           |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Spain          |       | 10    | 10    | 0     | 0     | 22    | 2     | +20   | 30    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   | Pl    | Bosnia & Herz. |       | 10    | 6     | 1     | 3     | 23    | 8     | +15   | 19    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | Turkey         |       | 10    | 5     | 3     | 2     | 16    | 6     | +10   | 18    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Belgium        |       | 10    | 4     | 1     | 5     | 16    | 19    | -3    | 13    | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Estonia        |       | 10    | 1     | 2     | 7     | 8     | 28    | -20   | 5     | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th   |       | Armenia        |       | 10    | 0     | 1     | 9     | 4     | 26    | -22   | 1     | 
| -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

Group 6:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team       |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | England    |       | 10    | 10    | 0     | 0     | 34    | 8     | +26   | 30    | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   | Pl    | Croatia    |       | 10    | 6     | 2     | 2     | 21    | 10    | +11   | 20    | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | Ukraine    |       | 10    | 6     | 2     | 2     | 17    | 9     | +8    | 20    | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Belarus    |       | 10    | 4     | 0     | 6     | 21    | 17    | +4    | 12    | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Kazakhstan |       | 10    | 2     | 0     | 8     | 12    | 29    | -17   | 6     | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th   |       | Andorra    |       | 10    | 0     | 0     | 10    | 2     | 34    | -32   | 0     | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

Group 7:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team          |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Serbia        |       | 10    | 8     | 1     | 1     | 21    | 9     | +12   | 25    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   | Pl    | France        |       | 10    | 7     | 2     | 1     | 23    | 8     | +15   | 23    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | Lithuania     |       | 10    | 4     | 1     | 5     | 12    | 11    | +1    | 13    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Austria       |       | 10    | 3     | 3     | 4     | 14    | 15    | -1    | 12    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Romania       |       | 10    | 3     | 2     | 5     | 14    | 16    | -2    | 11    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th   |       | Faroe Islands |       | 10    | 0     | 1     | 9     | 1     | 26    | -25   | 1     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

Group 8:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team       |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Ireland    |       | 10    | 6     | 4     | 0     | 13    | 5     | +8    | 22    | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 2nd   | Pl    | Italy      |       | 10    | 6     | 3     | 1     | 16    | 6     | +10   | 21    | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | Bulgaria   |       | 10    | 3     | 6     | 1     | 12    | 6     | +6    | 15    | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Cyprus     |       | 10    | 2     | 3     | 5     | 9     | 16    | -7    | 9     | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Montenegro |       | 10    | 1     | 4     | 5     | 9     | 15    | -6    | 7     | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 6th   |       | Georgia    |       | 10    | 0     | 4     | 6     | 6     | 17    | -11   | 4     | 
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

Group 9:

| Pos   | Inf   | Team          |       | Pld   | Won   | Drn   | Lst   | For   | Ag    | G.D.  | Pts   | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 1st   | Q     | Holland       |       | 8     | 7     | 1     | 0     | 16    | 2     | +14   | 22    | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
[b]| 2nd   | Pl    | SCOTLAND      |       | 8     | 4     | 2     | 2     | 8     | 6     | +2    | 14    | [/b]
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 3rd   |       | FYR Macedonia |       | 8     | 2     | 1     | 5     | 4     | 13    | -9    | 7     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 4th   |       | Iceland       |       | 8     | 2     | 1     | 5     | 8     | 13    | -5    | 7     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| 5th   |       | Norway        |       | 8     | 1     | 3     | 4     | 6     | 8     | -2    | 6     | 
| ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

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November 8th: It is now time for me to pick the squad for the two Play Off games against Croatia

The squad is as follows:-

| Pkd      | Inf      | Name             | Position      | Club       | Caps     | Goals    | Age      | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S1       |          | Craig Gordon     | GK            | Sunderland | 38       | -        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| GK       |          | Iain Turner      | GK            | Everton    | 1        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | David Marshall   | GK            | Cardiff    | 3        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S9       |          | Paul Dixon       | D L           | Dundee Utd | 1        | -        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S8       |          | Ian Murray       | D LC, DM, M C | Leeds      | 8        | -        | 28       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S7       | Yel      | Gary Caldwell    | D C           | Celtic     | 30       | 2        | 27       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S6       | Yel      | Stephen McManus  | D C           | Celtic     | 15       | 1        | 27       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| DC       |          | Christophe Berra | D C           | Wolves     | 7        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| DC       |          | Zander Diamond   | D C           | Aberdeen   | 1        | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| DR       |          | Steven Whittaker | D/WB R        | Rangers    | 2        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Alan Hutton      | D/WB R        | Tottenham  | 14       | -        | 24       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| DL       |          | Danny Fox        | D/WB L        | Celtic     | 2        | -        | 23       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Lee Wallace      | D/WB L        | Hearts     | 2        | -        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| MC       | Yel      | Darren Fletcher  | M C           | Man Utd    | 47       | 4        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| MC       |          | Kevin McDonald   | M C           | Burnley    | 1        | -        | 21       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S4       |          | Shaun Maloney    | AM RLC        | Celtic     | 15       | 2        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| MR       | Rst      | Robert Snodgrass | AM RL         | Leeds      | 1        | -        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Steven Naismith  | AM RL, F C    | Rangers    | 1        | -        | 23       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Nacho Novo       | AM R, ST      | Rangers    | -        | -        | 30       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Daniel Galbraith | AM L          | Hibernian  | -        | -        | 19       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S5       |          | Kris Commons     | AM LC, F C    | Derby      | 9        | -        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| ML       |          | John Fleck       | AM LC, F C    | Rangers    | 5        | -        | 18       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S3       | Wnt      | Derek Riordan    | AM L, ST      | Hibernian  | 2        | 1        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| S2       |          | Kenny Miller     | ST            | Fulham     | 45       | 12       | 29       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Garry O'Connor   | ST            | Birmingham | 16       | 5        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| ST       |          | Kris Boyd        | ST            | Rangers    | 19       | 10       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------|

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November 14th: Scotland v Croatia (8): World Cup 2010 Play Off 1st Leg

We got off to a terrible start as on the second minute we were a goal down with Eduardo doing the honours from the edge of the area after beating K.Commons to a loose pass by I.Murray. Ten minutes later Croatia came close again as I.Olic threaded a neat ball to the feet of I.Rakitic who fired just wide of C.Gordons post. On the 21st minute we had our first effort as J.Fleck rattled the crossbar from 20 yards after some poor Croatian defending. Seven minutes later we had our next chance as K.Boyd fired in from inside the area but S.Pletikosa was on hand to block his effort. Just after the half hour Croatia had there next chance with Eduardo running past G.Caldwell and firing towards goal but his effort was well saved by C.Gordon. On the 39th minute we countered a Croatian attack and D.Fletcher crossed into the area for K.Miller to volley home, much to the delight of the home crowd. Deep into injury time the fans had something else to scream about as K.Miller grabbed his second of the game with a thunderous shot from outside the area.

Half Time Score 2-1

The second half saw me bring on S.Whittaker and D.Riordan for S.Maloney and K.Boyd. Croatia made a change with R.Kovac coming on for S.Tomas. Croatia started the half the better and on the 58th minute they had the first chance with Eduardo firing towards goal but I.Murray managed to get his body in the way to save the ball. Nine minutes later Croatia had another chance as I.Rakitic sprinted past G.Caldwell to fire past C.Gordon but his effort just bobbled wide of the post. On the 71st minute Croatia made a couple of changes with M.Mandzukic and H.Cale coming on for D.Pranjic and I.Olic. Croatia continued to pile forward and on the 83rd minute they had the chance to grab the equaliser after S.McManus fouled Eduardo inside the area for a penalty, I.Rakitic stepped up for the kick and fired in to the left, luckily for us C.Gordon guessed right and tipped the ball round the post.

Scotland 2 K.Miller 39, 45+2

Croatia 1 Eduardo 2

Scotland: C.Gordon, A.Hutton, I.Murray, G.Caldwell, S.McManus, S.Maloney (45-S.Whittaker), K.Commons, D.Fletcher, J.Fleck, K.Boyd (45-D.Riordan), K.Miller

Croatia: S.Pletikosa, V.Corluka, D.Srna, S.Tomas (45-R.Kovac), G.Sablic, L.Modric, D.Pranjic (71-M.Mandzukic), O.Vukojevic, I.Rakitic, I.Olic (71-H.Cale), Eduardo

Post Match Review: A great victory for the team but the away goal could slap us in the face in the second leg. I wasn’t too pleased with the defence as they let the Croatian attack in far too easily but luckily for them a combination of poor finishing and C.Gordon saved there blushes

Other Play Off Results:

Bosnia & Herz 1-3 Portugal

Greece 1-2 Italy

Russia 1-1 France

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November 18th: Croatia (8) v Scotland: World Cup 2010 Play Off 2nd Leg (agg 1-2)

We again started poorly as on the 3rd minute Croatia pulled the tie level with I.Rakitic firing past C.Gordon. Six minutes later Croatia had another chance as Eduardo showed his skill to turn L.Wallace and fire towards C.Gordon but the upright saved the day. On the 23rd minute we had our first chance as K.Miller ran into the area unmarked but his effort was pretty poor and was easily saved by S.Pletikosa. Just after the half hour Croatia had another chance as V.Corluka crossed into the area but before M.Adzuki had the chance to head towards goal C.Gordon ran out and cleared the ball.

Half Time Score 1-0 (agg 2-2)

I made a change before the half started with D.Riordan coming on K.Boyd and I changed the formation to a 4-4-1-1. Croatia continued from were they ended as they piled on the pressure and on the 54th minute they came close to grabbing the aggregate lead as Eduardo headed just wide of the post from a O.Vukojevic cross. We were getting outplayed by the Croatians and on the 61st minute they had another chance as Eduardo was again guilty of an easy miss. Five minutes later though we fired in the equaliser as D.Riordan rifled in a thunderous effort from outside the area which gave S.Pletikosa no chance of saving. Croatia though continued to pressurise us and on the 78th minute they had another chance as I.Olic headed into the hands of C.Gordon after my defence failed to deal with a simple cross. On the stroke of full time Croatia had there final chance as I.Rakitic tried his luck from outside the area but the effort was well saved by C.Gordon who was definitely the Man of the Match over the two legs

Croatia 1 I.Rakitic 3

Scotland 1 D.Riordan 66

Croatia: S.Pletikosa, V.Corluka, H.Cale, S.Tomas (72-D.Drpic), G.Sablic, D.Srna, L.Modric, O.Vukojevic, I.Rakitic, M.Adzuki (72-I.Olic), Eduardo

Scotland: C.Gordon, A.Hutton, L.Wallace, G.Caldwell, S.McManus, S.Maloney, K.Commons, D.Fletcher, J.Fleck (62-R.Snodgrass), K.Boyd (45-D.Riordan), K.Miller

Post Match Review: We were very very lucky to have got through to the World Cup next summer. Croatia were a million times better than us and if it wasn’t for C.Gordon we would of been absolutely battered. We now have to wait to see who we will be getting in the World Cup Group Stage

We qualify for the World Cup 2010 with a 3-2 aggregate victory

Other World Cup 2010 Play Off 2nd Leg Results:

France (1) 2-4 (1) RUSSIA (Russia qualify 5-3 on aggregate)

ITALY (2) 2-2 (1) Greece (Italy qualify 4-3 on aggregate)

PORTUGAL (3) 2-2 (1) Bosnia & Herz (Portugal qualify 5-3 on aggregate)

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December 11th: The draw for the World Cup 2010 sees us in the second pot.

The pots are as follows:-

First Pot: Argentina (6), Brazil (2), England (7), Germany (5), Holland (3), Italy (4), South Africa (Hosts), Spain (1)

Second Pot: Denmark (27), Rep.Ireland (25), Portugal (10), Russia (14), SCOTLAND (19), Serbia (13), Slovakia (43), Switzerland (11)

Third Pot; Cameroon (23), Chile (20), Ecuador (26), Egypt (31), Ghana (33), Ivory Coast (18), Nigeria (15), Paraguay (24)

Fourth Pot: Australia (29), Honduras (34), Japan (40), Mexico (17), North Korea (95), Saudi Arabia (50), South Korea (52), USA (21)

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The draw has now taken place and the eight groups are as follows:-

Group A: Italy, Slovakia, Ghana, Paraguay

Group B: Spain, Russia, Nigeria, Japan

Group C: England, Denmark, Chile, Egypt

Group D: South Africa, Portugal, Ecuador, USA

Group E: Germany, Rep.Ireland, Cameroon, South Korea

Group F: Holland, SCOTLAND, Ivory Coast, Saudi Arabia

Group G; Argentina, Switzerland, Australia, Mexico

Group H; Brazil, Serbia, North Korea, Honduras

January 15th 2010: Its now time for the draw for the European Football Championship 2012 Qualifying Groups: We have been seeded 3rd meaning we could be in for a tough draw

The draw is as follows:-

Group A: Spain, Czech Rep, Serbia, Rep.Ireland, Iceland, Montenegro, Faroe Islands, San Marino

Group B: Portugal, Sweden, Bulgaria, Norway, Hungary, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg

Group C: England, Denmark, Romania, Austria, Albania, Kazakhstan, Armenia

Group D: Italy, Greece, SCOTLAND, Northern Ireland, Wales, Belarus, Moldova

Group E: Holland, Russia, Belgium, Slovenia, Georgia, Latvia, Azerbaijan

Group F: France, Turkey, Israel, Slovakia, Bosnia 7 Herz, Lithuania, Malta

Group G: Germany, Croatia, Switzerland, Finland, FYR Macedonia, Estonia, Andorra

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February 4th: I now have to pick the squad for the two friendlies against Australia and Greece

3rd in World Cup Group F

| Pkd      | Inf      | Name             | Position      | Club       | Caps     | Goals    | Age      | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Neil Alexander   | GK            | Rangers    | 5        | -        | 31       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Paul Gallacher   | GK            | St. Mirren | 8        | -        | 30       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Iain Turner      | GK            | Everton    | 1        | -        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Kirk Broadfoot   | D RC, WB R    | Rangers    | 3        | 1        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Paul Dixon       | D L           | Dundee Utd | 1        | -        | 23       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Ian Murray       | D LC, DM, M C | Leeds      | 9        | -        | 28       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Steven Caldwell  | D C           | Burnley    | 11       | -        | 29       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Lee Wilkie       | D C           | Dundee Utd | 13       | 1        | 29       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Stephen McManus  | D C           | Celtic     | 17       | 1        | 27       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Christophe Berra | D C           | Wolves     | 7        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Liam Cooper      | D C           | Hull       | -        | -        | 18       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Steven Whittaker | D/WB R        | Rangers    | 3        | -        | 25       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Gary Naysmith    | D/WB L        | Sheff Utd  | 46       | 1        | 31       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Barry Robson     | M LC          | Coventry   | 2        | -        | 31       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Darren Fletcher  | M C           | Man Utd    | 49       | 4        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Nigel Quashie    | M C           | West Ham   | 14       | 1        | 31       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Shaun Maloney    | AM RLC        | Celtic     | 17       | 2        | 27       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Robert Snodgrass | AM RL         | Leeds      | 2        | -        | 22       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Ross McCormack   | AM RL, F C    | Cardiff    | 3        | 1        | 23       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | James McFadden   | AM L, F C     | Birmingham | 45       | 13       | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | John Fleck       | AM LC, F C    | Rangers    | 7        | -        | 18       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Derek Riordan    | AM L, ST      | Hibernian  | 4        | 2        | 27       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Robert McHugh    | F C           | Motherwell | -        | -        | 18       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Kevin Kyle       | ST            | Kilmarnock | 9        | 1        | 28       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Kenny Miller     | ST            | Fulham     | 47       | 14       | 30       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Garry O'Connor   | ST            | Plymouth   | 16       | 5        | 26       | 
| -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cheers Spav, I would rather of had a loss than the game we played out

February 10th: Scotland v Australia: Friendly

A real dire game in truth as we struggled to get going. It took till the 34th minute for the first effort of the game as M.Bresciano jinked his way through my defence and fired towards goal but P.Gallacher saved well. On the stroke of half time I was forced into a change as K.Miller picked up an injury, he was replaced by R.Hugh.

Half Time Score 0-0

I made three changes to the team as G.Naysmith, R.McCormack and G.O’Connor came on for P.Dixon, B.Robson and K.Kyle. The second half was pretty much the same as the first as the game failed to liven up. There was only the one effort in the second half as N.Quashie tried his luck from distance but M.Schwarzer reacted well and saved with ease.

Scotland 0

Australia 0

Scotland: P.Gallacher, K.Broadfoot, P.Dixon (45-G.Naysmith), L.Wilkie, S.McManus, R.Snodgrass, B.Robson (45-R.McCormack), D.Fletcher, N.Quashie, K.Kyle (45-G.O‘Connor), K.Miller (inj 45-R.Hugh)

Australia: M.Schwarzer, L.Neill, S.Chipperfield, C.Moore, R.McGowan (68-J.McKain), V.Grella, L.Wilkshire (68-K.Wehrman), M.Bresciano, B.Holman, J.Troisi, N.Burns (56-S.McDonald)

Post Match Review: A truly dire game. I was far from happy with the lack of ambition from my players. If they were wanting to press for a place in my World Cup Squad then they really let themselves down.

Injury news: K.Miller will be out of action for around seven weeks after straining his knee ligaments during the match. I have decided not to replace him

February 14th: More injury news sees Steven Caldwell injure his thigh and will be out of action for around six weeks, I will not be calling in a replacement

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February 21st: Scotland v Greece: Friendly

We now faced the Greeks and my players came out fighting after the rollicking I gave them in the previous game. On the 17th minute we had our first chance as J.McFadden curled in a great free kick from 25 yards after D.Fletcher was brought down, but his free kick was easily saved by M.Sifakis. Eleven minutes later we had another chance with G.O’Connor rattled the crossbar from 25 yards after the Greek defence kept on backing away from him. Just before the half time interval we had another chance as D.Fletcher fired a powerful effort towards goal but it was diverted wide by S.Papastathopoulos.

Half Time Score 0-0

The second half started with me bringing on K.Broadfoot, B.Robson and R.McHugh for S.Whittaker, R.McCormack and G.O’Connor. Within two minutes of the restart we had the chance to take the lead as D.Riordan was hacked down in the area by S.Kyrgiakos for a penalty. B.Robson stepped up for the kick and wasted no time in firing past the Greek keeper. On the 59th minute we had another chance to score as J.McFadden came close with a slotted effort from ten yards but M.Sifakis was on hand to tip the shot round the post. We were in complete control and on the 78th minute we had another chance but the effort by R.McHugh was pretty poor and went wide of the post. With eight minutes remaining we shot ourselves in the foot as L.Wilkie stupidly handled in the area for a penalty, I.Amanatidis stepped up and fired past I.Turner to give his team the draw

Scotland 1 B.Robson 47 pen

Greece 1 I.Amanatidis 82 pen

Scotland: I.Turner, S.Whittaker (45-K.Broadfoot), G.Naysmith, L.Wilkie, C.Berra, R.McCormack (45-B.Robson), D.Riordan, D.Fletcher, S.Maloney, J.McFadden, G.O‘Connor (45-R.McHugh)

Greece: M.Sifakis, S.Tavlaridis (83-P.Kafes), S.Papastathopoulos, S.Kyrgiakos (90-A.Papadopoulos), D.Salpingidis, G.Karagounis, A.Tziolis (83-G.Seitaridis), K.Katsouranis, G.Papadopoulos (45-K.Papadopoulos), I.Amanatidis (83-L.Christodoulopoulos), T.Gekas (45-V.Torosidis)

Post Match Review: We dominated the play and really should of won with ease. We need to be alot more clinical in front of goal

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March 20th: Its now time to choose the squad for the upcoming friendly against Belgium, The squad is as follows:-

| Pkd      | Inf      | Name             | Position      | Club            | Caps     | Goals    | Age      | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Rst      | Craig Gordon     | GK            | Sunderland      | 40       | -        | 27       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Mark Ridgers     | GK            | Hearts          | -        | -        | 19       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Ryan Scully      | GK            | Partick Thistle | -        | -        | 17       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Paul Dixon       | D L           | Dundee Utd      | 2        | -        | 23       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Ian Murray       | D LC, DM, M C | Leeds           | 9        | -        | 29       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Christophe Berra | D C           | Wolves          | 8        | -        | 25       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Alex Pearce      | D C           | Reading         | -        | -        | 21       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Steven Whittaker | D/WB R        | Rangers         | 4        | -        | 25       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Rst      | Gary Naysmith    | D/WB L        | Sheff Utd       | 48       | 1        | 31       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Ross Wallace     | D/WB/AM L     | Preston         | -        | -        | 24       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Barry Bannan     | M RLC         | Aston Villa     | -        | -        | 20       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Barry Robson     | M LC          | Coventry        | 4        | 1        | 31       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Darren Fletcher  | M C           | Man Utd         | 51       | 4        | 26       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | James McArthur   | M C           | Wigan           | -        | -        | 22       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Craig Conway     | AM RLC        | Dundee Utd      | -        | -        | 24       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Shaun Maloney    | AM RLC        | Celtic          | 18       | 2        | 27       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | James Morrison   | AM RLC        | West Brom       | 5        | -        | 23       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Robert Snodgrass | AM RL         | Leeds           | 3        | -        | 22       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | Ross McCormack   | AM RL, F C    | Cardiff         | 5        | 1        | 23       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Nacho Novo       | AM R, ST      | Rangers         | -        | -        | 30       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Charlie Adam     | AM LC         | Blackpool       | 2        | -        | 24       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | Wnt      | Kris Commons     | AM LC, F C    | Derby           | 11       | -        | 26       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        |          | John Fleck       | AM LC, F C    | Rangers         | 7        | -        | 18       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | James McFadden   | AM L, F C     | Birmingham      | 46       | 13       | 26       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Chris Maguire    | AM L, ST      | Aberdeen        | -        | -        | 21       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 
| -        | IPR      | Kris Boyd        | ST            | Rangers         | 21       | 10       | 26       | 
| ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| 

March 21st; Injury news sees Paul Dixon out for the Belgium game after pulling his hamstring during training. I called up Alan Hutton but he rejected the call up, instead I called up Mark Reynolds from Motherwell. Other injury news sees Ryan Scully injured for up to four months after tearing hamstring, his replacement in the squad was Rangers Neil Alexander

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March 26th: Scotland v Belgium: Friendly

A real dire first as neither my team or the Belgium team went for it. On the 29th minute though my team had the first chance as K.Boyd threaded the ball to N.Novo who fired towards goal but his effort was pretty lame as J-Francois Gillet saved easily.

Half Time Score 0-0

The second half started with Belgium making a couple of changes with E.Hazard and T.Simons coming on for D.Van Buyten and M.Martens. On the 56th minute Belgium made another change as S.Pocognoli came on for R.Goreux. A minute later I made four changes with M.Ridgers, A.Pearce, B.Bannan and K.Boyd all being replaced by N.Alexander, C.Conway, K.Commons and R.Wallace. The game pretty much petered out and we again ended up with a bore draw

Scotland 0

Belgium 0

Scotland: M.Ridgers (57-N.Alexander), S.Whittaker, I.Murray, A.Pearce (57-C.Conway), C.Berra, B.Bannan (57-K.Commons), C.Adam, D.Fletcher, J.Fleck, K.Boyd (57-R.Wallace), N.Novo

Belgium: J-Francois Gillet, R.Goreux (56-S.Pocognoli), T.Vermaelen, D.Van Buyten (45-E.Hazard), N.Lombaerts, M.Fellaini, S.Defour, V.Kompany, M.Dembele, M.Martens (45-T.Simons), T.De Sutter

Post Match Review: To say the players area supposed to be trying to impress me with the World Cup coming up there doing a poor job of it. We just don’t seem to be able to do simple things like pass our ways to the opposition area. Things need to improve

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Authors note: I forgot to save the squad selection for the next three games

May 29th: Scotland v Russia: Friendly

We got off to a cracking start as within eight minutes we were in the lead as R.Snodgrass curled in a great effort past I.Akinfeev. Six minutes later we had another chance as S.Fletcher showed some great pace to beat his marker but his final effort was pretty poor and it went well wide of the post. On the half hour Russia were forced into a change as E.Aldonin picked up an injury and was replaced by R.Shirokov. On the 39th minute Russia had there first chance as Y.Zhirkov ran into the area past M.Wilson and fired towards goal but N.Alexander saved well.

Half Time Score 1-0

I made a few changes to the team as B.Easton, K.Commons and K.Boyd were replaced by D.Fox, K.Miller and S.Naismith. Russia also made a change as A.Arshavin was replaced by A.Belozerov. Within three minutes of the half restarting Russia grabbed the equaliser as R.Pavlyuchenko ran past my defence and fired past N.Alexander. The game became pretty open and on the hour we had our next chance as S.Naismith crossed the ball into the area for S.Fletcher but he managed to nod wide of the post. Russia had the final chance of the game as on the 81st minute D.Sychev fired just over the crossbar after beating my defence to a long ball.

Scotland 1 R.Snodgrass 8

Russia 1 R.Pavlyuchenko 48

Scotland: N.Alexander, M.Wilson (77-K.Broadfoot), B.Easton (45-D.Fox), L.Wilkie, S.Caldwell, R.Snodgrass, D.MacLeod, D.Fletcher, K.Commons (45-K.Miller), K.Boyd (45-S.Naismith), S.Fletcher (77-J.Fleck)

Russia: I.Akinfeev (74-V.Malafeev), V.Berezutskiy, V.Granat (65-A.Anyukov), S.Ignashevich (65-A.Dzagoev), A.Berezutskiy, S.Semak, A.Arshavin (45-A.Belozerov), E.Aldonin (inj 30-R.Shirokov), V.Bystrov (74-D.Sychev), Y.Zhirkov, R.Pavlyuchenko

Post Match Review: A good solid performance by the team. Only niggling thing in my mind is the chances we seem to be wasting in front of goal. Hopefully the game against Andorra will give the players to eye in front of goal

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