Scotland can deal with must-win pressure - Gordon Strachan

Scotland coach Gordon Strachan
Strachan says it's "mainly excitement" he feels ahead of Thursday's match at Hampden
World Cup qualifying: Scotland v Slovakia
Venue: Hampden Park Date: Thursday, 5 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Scotland will not be overawed as they seek two victories to keep alive hopes of a World Cup play-off place, says coach Gordon Strachan.

Strachan's side must take maximum points from Slovakia at Hampden on Thursday and away to Slovenia on Sunday to guarantee second spot in Group F.

"We've had to deal with must-win games in the last four," he said.

"Momentum is good at the moment. It's really exciting for me taking on this challenge."

Scotland have revived hopes of participation at a major finals for the first time since 1998 by taking taking 10 points from the past four games.

Slovakia had won five in a row before a 2-1 defeat by group leaders England at Wembley in September.

That run included a 3-0 home win over the Scots this time last year.

"Like ourselves, they started slow, so it's two teams who have picked up momentum at a vital stage of the group," said Strachan.

"Slovakia have good players, experienced players, and they've been together a long time, they're like a club side. They might not have the numbers, but when they put 16 or 17 together, they've got a right good side.

"Anyone with any knowledge in football will know how tough it's going to be [against] a team even England found difficult to beat.

"We've put together the basis of a team plan. The players themselves will determine how the game goes. It's all down to the players."

World Cup qualifying Group F

Hearts defender Christophe Berra, who scored the opening goal in a 2-0 victory against Malta in Glasgow last month, said he was looking forward to a "massive" match.

"We're champing at the bit to get to kick-off," he said. "We'll be going out ready for a tough game but we're fine-tuned and ready to go.

"It's a game that we are relishing. You want to play in the big games with the big atmosphere.

"No disrespect to Slovakia, who're a great nation with some great players, but there have been bigger nations and better players who have come to Hampden and found it very difficult and not got the win they needed.

"On our night, we are capable of anything and hopefully we can put on a big performance.

"Hopefully we can carry on the momentum from the past two games. It's in our hands and the boys are full of confidence."