Scotland: Alex McLeish says topping Nations League group the 'minimum requirement'

By Kheredine IdessaneBBC Scotland
Alex McLeish
McLeish has won two and lost six of the eight matches so far in his second spell in charge
Nations League League C, Group 1: Albania v Scotland
Venue: Loro Borici Stadium, Shkoder Date: Saturday, 17 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Topping their Nations League group is the "minimum requirement" for Scotland, says manager Alex McLeish.

McLeish has named a 23-man squad for this month's crucial double-header against Albania and current League C Group 1 leaders Israel.

Both the Scots and Albania trail Israel, who have played a game more, by three points.

"It's something I believe that we're capable of and of course it's something that's achievable," said McLeish.

The 59-year-old has won two and lost six - including three out of four this season - of the eight matches to date in his second spell in charge of the national team.

"There's always pressure there.," he conceded. "You saw Jose Mourinho recently admitting that even the great Jose Mourinho had felt a wee bit of pressure. It's something that you use to empower yourself, make yourself better and I feel I've done that all my career.

"I learn lessons every time we don't get the right result; even when you do get the right result. I've been in the game 42 years and at the high end, high pressure, and the thing that I feel I'm pretty good at is bouncing back from a setback."

'Now is the time for robust, battle-hardened players'

Scotland suffered a damaging 2-1 Nations League defeat in Israel last month, following an opening 2-0 home win over Albania.

In the absence of strikers Leigh Griffiths and Steven Naismith, McLeish has recalled Steven Fletcher and Matt Phillips to his squad.

"We're going to trust this whole squad to get the results that we need," McLeish added.

"We have fast-tracked a lot of younger players to the national level. They're not going to have all the answers, they're going to make some mistakes. It's where we are in the international field at the moment.

"Now is the time that we get these robust players, the players that are battle-hardened, for these two games. Every one of these guys want to play for Scotland and do Scotland proud and that's the goal over the next two weeks, to achieve that."

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