Peru v Scotland: McLeish's squad positive despite absences, says Charlie Mulgrew

Scotland's Dylan McGeouch and captain Charlie Mulgrew train at the Estadio Nacional
Dylan McGeouch is one of nine uncapped players in the squad along with Charlie Mulgrew
International friendly: Peru v Scotland
Venue: Estadio Nacional de Lima, Peru Date: Wednesday, 30 May Kick-off: 02:00 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC One Scotland; text commentary and streamed live (UK only) on the BBC Sport website

Scotland's Charlie Mulgrew says any negativity surrounding the end-of-season tour to Peru and Mexico has not affected the travelling squad.

The scheduling of the long-haul trip for the end of season has drawn criticism from some quarters.

And the unavailability of some senior players leaves Scotland under-strength against two World Cup-bound sides.

"There's never been any negatives mentioned since we've met up," Mulgrew stressed. "It's all been positive."

The Blackburn Rovers captain is likely to don the international armband as Alex McLeish's side face Peru on Tuesday evening in Lima.

"Training's been positive, the atmosphere about the place has been positive," said the 32-year-old. "It's two games for our country.

"We're all delighted to be here and we're looking forward to playing the match and putting on a performance and fighting for Scotland again.

"It's good to have new faces in the squad. It's going to be a big challenge for us but one we're looking forward to and one hopefully we can relish."

Mulgrew is in line to win his 35th cap and such is the inexperience of the squad, with nine uncapped players, he has made more than three times as many appearances as the next most-capped player, West Bromwich Albion winger Matt Phillips.

As the senior citizen of the squad, what will Mulgrew's advice be to the new boys?

"I would say, 'Just enjoy the game, try to take the opportunity to be in the squad more regularly and try to get a result,'" he said.

Scotland manager Alex McLeish and assistants Peter Grant and James McFadden during training in Lima
Alex McLeish and assistants Peter Grant and James McFadden hope to plot a win in Lima

"If they enjoy it and go out and fight and work hard then the ability is there and it'll be a great experience for everybody."

His manager has already urged these players to grasp the "golden incentive" on offer and he recalled when he himself was in the same position.

McLeish made his his debut as a 21-year-old in a 4-1 friendly win over Portugal in March 1980.

"I know that, when I was told I was getting my first game for Scotland, I couldn't believe it," he said.

'Here to spoil the party'

"I dreamt about it as a young boy but never imagined I would ever play for my country.

"But, when I was told I was playing for the national team, a shiver ran down my spine and made me feel so proud. Nervous too, but in a good way."

Now McLeish hopes his Scotland charges can respond in challenging circumstances.

"Maybe we will have to work a little bit harder than Peru to get a favourable result," he admitted.

"But we know that Peru want to give the fans a good send-off and we are here to try to spoil the party."

Top Stories