Scotland 2-0 Malta: Stuart Armstrong sets sights on Slovakia showdown

Christophe Berra and Scott Brown congratulate each other at full time
Scotland were untroubled in a 2-0 win over Malta at Hampden

Stuart Armstrong thinks a vibrant Hampden can help Scotland beat Slovakia and remain on course for a top-two finish in World Cup qualifying Group F.

Midfielder Armstrong was man-of-the-match as Gordon Strachan's side eased past Malta 2-0 to close within a point of the Slovaks in second place.

Now Scotland need to overcome Slovakia in Glasgow next month to set up another must-win final match in Slovenia.

"That's going to be a huge game," Armstrong told BBC Scotland.

"The fans are sure to turn out in numbers.

"We'll definitely be up for it when the time comes but they'll be as hungry as us to get up there and finish as high in the table as they can.

"It's all to play for and everyone's fighting for that spot and they'll want it as much as we do.

"You have to believe in yourself to achieve anything but in the same respect, we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

"We just want to go back to our clubs, focus on that then refocus on this when we get back together as a group."

The Celtic player praised the turnaround in the squad's fortunes and cited manager Strachan's impact after their recent renaissance.

"Everyone has full belief in the manager, we all believe in him," he added.

"It shows, especially in the last four games, and 10 points out of 12 is a good return.

"It helps to not over-think things and look too far ahead into the future, we're in a better position now and have more points on the board.

"You want to play the big games against the best players in the world and we'll look forward to that."

James Morrison hit the post with a shot before Leigh Griffiths tucked in the rebound for 2-0
Morrison (right) hit the post with a shot before Leigh Griffiths tucked in the rebound for 2-0

Armstrong's team-mate James Morrison cited the togetherness of the squad, just 11 months on from a bleak 3-0 defeat in Trnava by the Slovakians, ahead of next month's Hampden rematch.

West Brom's Morrison was a half-time substitute against the Maltese and says there is a belief that a possible play-off spot could be theirs.

"It's a funny old game, football," said Morrison. "It can turn quickly and we stuck together. We've got some good lads and have got ourselves into a good position now.

"A lot of it is down to the manager, I think he's done a fantastic job, pulled us through a tough time.

"He's got us playing and brought in some new faces which has lifted us and that's what we wanted.

"We had a big one against Poland the last time (the final game in Euro 2106 qualifying), but Hampden is going to be rocking."

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