Scotland: Craig Brown backs national side to secure World Cup play-off spot

Scotland players celebrate
Scotland are aiming to play in their first major finals since the 1998 World Cup in France
World Cup qualifying: Slovenia v Scotland
Venue: Stozice Stadium Date: Sunday, 8 October Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown has backed the national side to secure a play-off spot for the 2018 World Cup.

Victory in Slovenia on Sunday will secure second place in Group F for Gordon Strachan's side.

"I'm very confident that Gordon will do it and we'll get to at least a play-off," Brown told BBC Radio Scotland. "The play-off will be difficult.

"It would be quite an achievement to get there. Slovenia are playing for pride - we'll have to be at our best."

Brown, who led the national side to their last major finals appearance at the 1998 World Cup in France, is confident the Scots can win in Ljubljana.

"I would imagine that Gordon will approach this exactly the way he's approached the previous four or five games, in which we've played exceptionally well," he added.

'Let's be patient'

Brown said patience will be key when the Scots face Slovenia.

"I think the fact that we've scored late goals in recent matches will give encouragement," he explained.

"If you go hell-for-leather trying to get this win and leave yourself exposed defensively, it could be fatal. I'm sure Gordon will say: 'let's be patient'.

"We've got a good record of scoring late in matches and, if we continue to play as we've been playing, then we'll do that."

Brown says there is a "feelgood factor" in the national side under Strachan and believes the manager wants to remain in charge beyond the current campaign.

Craig Brown
Brown hopes Strachan remains in charge of the national side

"I'm on the record as saying that I'm a Gordon Strachan fan," Brown added. "I don't think there's anyone more suited to the job at the moment. I'm sure that, if anyone can do it for Scotland, it's Gordon.

"He's got terrific support from his playing group and you never hear any player in any way critical of Gordon. They support him wholeheartedly and that's obvious from the way they're playing in the recent matches.

World Cup qualifying Group F

"So, I think he's the man for the job and hopefully he'll prove that. I would think [that he would want to stay] and I think he enjoys his job. I was privileged to sit watching the game in midweek with his wife Lesley and you could tell that she, too, is enjoying watching Scotland.

"I hope he succeeds and I hope he stays on."

My Scotland starting XI

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