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Batman, Robben and Scotland

Chick Young | 21:48 UK time, Monday, 23 March 2009

Holland have Robben in their team this weekend, but to be honest I can't see him needing Batman.

Miracle-believers apart, is there anyone of the Caledonia persuasion out there who really believes we can bring home anything more than tulips from Amsterdam?

That would be blooming unbelievable.

The Dutch of class; Mark van Bommel of Bayern, Wesley Snejder and his Real Madrid pal Arjen Robben, Van Persie of the Arsenal and Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel of the club in the middle of an inferno, Liverpool.

barry_scotland_big.jpgAll employees of the aristocracy of the European game.

We don't send footballers to clubs like that any more, apart of course from the occasional token gesture like Darren Fletcher.

I smell big trouble.

If Scotland win in the ArenA it will be the most exciting piece of Saturday night fever since John Travolta slipped into his white suit.

No, my friends, I have already designated the shift in Amsterdam as the sacrificial lamb to the World Cup gods.

The Netherlands will - not for the first time in history - have a big hand in the unfolding of life in South Africa.

The question is: can we hang on to their clogs?

It is from Wednesday onwards that we cannot afford to put a foot wrong.

Wins against Iceland and Macedonia at home, victory in Norway and very probably another win against the Dutch at Hampden or all will be lost.

That would leave us with 16 points where now we have four.

It is a dreadful state of affairs because, although in second place, we are actually - by three points - the worst of the current runners up, and remember that only one of the nine misses out.

As it stands, that will be us.

Of course Scotland are past masters in the art of glorious failure, but even by our standards this would be a belter.

I have not yet ruled it out.

But here's the truth: things are looking so bleak that glorious failure might be relative success.

Poor George Burley. The Scotland manager has been shunted up a siding this time, partly by fate, partly his own making.

He refused to select Kris Boyd on the basis that this club manager wasn't and that led to a wee domestic between the two.

But Craig Gordon is currently at Sunderland as popular as a pork chop at a Jewish wedding and the manager looks prepared to pick him.

Re-arrange into a well known phrase or saying: goalposts... the... moving.

In truth I don't care who he plays in goal because, match fitness or not, we are blessed with two special goalies in Gordon and Allan McGregor.

But does he gamble on Allan Hutton who will have played one reserve game in the wake of an injury which has sidelined him for the winter?

It is a hell of a gamble.

Frankly, I think the manager has to push the chance button.

Hutton is a rare thoroughbred in a squad with too many international journeymen.

Put the Spurs player in with Gary Caldwell, David Weir and Gary Naysmith in the back four, have a midfield of Darren Fletcher, Scott Brown and Barry Ferguson with Paul Hartley sitting and combine Kenny Miller and Steven Fletcher up front, with the two of them working a relief shift system in the midfield and we might be on to something.

Simmer quietly and slowly bring to the boil.

Oh yes, and give the captain a break, will you?

That human punchbag Barry Ferguson will have a big part to play.

I don't get it with the Rangers player, the fact that some seem to think he has morphed into an Aunt Sally stall.

That's a number six on his back, not a target.

Ferguson and his drive and passion and lust to exorcise the memory of his last appearance in the ArenA will be a huge presence for Scotland.

It has been open season for his firing squad but at Ibrox on Saturday I witnessed a player who wanted the ball, a player who was well on the road to becoming his old self.

We'll need all of that and plenty more this weekend in old Amsterdam.

They have Robben, if no Batman.

We'll need to play our Joker...


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