Scotland: Barry Bannan hopes for new career highlight in Slovenia

Barry Bannan
Barry Bannan had been largely out of the Scotland team until Thursday's win

Barry Bannan hopes to savour a new career highlight when Scotland take on Slovenia on Sunday.

The Sheffield Wednesday midfielder, 27, made his first Scotland start in almost a year as Slovakia were defeated 1-0.

Victory in Ljubljana will secure second place in World Cup qualifying Group F for Gordon Strachan's side.

"It's probably one of the happiest moments I've had in football so far so let's hope it gets beat on Sunday by beating them over there," said Bannan.

"It's a massive game," he added. "This is why you want to play football. You want to be involved in these big games.

"The boys have a never-say-die attitude and it showed [against Slovakia]. I don't think anybody could have run any more at the final whistle. We gave our all."

Bannan's inclusion came after Stuart Armstrong and Scott Brown had pulled out of the squad with injury.

"Sometimes you've just got to bide your time," Bannan said after winning his 26th senior international cap at Hampden on Thursday.

World Cup qualifying Group F

"This squad have been playing brilliant and unfortunately for Scott and Stuart, they both got injuries. My time came tonight and you've got to be ready.

"You never know when it's going to come round the corner. Luckily tonight I got my chance and I really enjoyed it. It's great to get the victory and that's the main thing.

"We've stuck in there, we've showed great character and we've put ourselves into a great position going into the last game in the group and it's all in our hands."

Blackburn Rovers' Charlie Mulgrew marshalled the centre of the Scotland defence with Hearts' Christophe Berra and Mulgrew praised his international team-mates for showing belief even when their hopes of qualification looked forlorn.

Charlie Mulgrew
Mulgrew says Scotland will play the game not the occasion in Slovenia

The Scots had four points after four games but have taken 13 from their past five matches.

"Everybody believing, everybody working, not listening to the negative things about us not getting there - we all just kept believing and we need to keep believing into Sunday," said Mulgrew.

"It'll be a hard game, and we're going to give it all we can to get the result.

"We'll play the game, we'll not play the occasion. We'll not think too much about what it means to us."

Meanwhile, the Scottish FA says Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser has withdrawn from the Scotland squad because of injury. Strachan has opted against calling a player up to replace Fraser.

My Scotland starting XI

Who would you have in your Scotland starting XI for the game against Slovenia?