McGhee eyes Snodgrass for leading role

13 Sep

Scotland attackers Oliver Burke and Robert Snodgrass


Oliver Burke and Robert Snodgrass offer Scotland attacking options from midfield

Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee says Robert Snodgrass can provide the leadership lost in the international retirement of team captain Scott Brown.

Snodgrass was key to Scotland beating Malta last month in their opening World Cup qualifying campaign tie, scoring a hat-trick in the 5-1 win.

McGhee believes the Hull City attacker has the personality and influence to become a leading figure in the squad.

“He’s a fantastic character, a genuinely nice guy,” said McGhee.

“He’s a bit of fun so he lightens up the camp as well, but when it comes to the business end, he’s right there.

Gordon Strachan and Mark McGhee<!–

Assistant Mark McGhee (right) and manager Gordon Strachan got Scotland’s World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start in Malta

“With the retirement of Scott Brown, we needed one or two to step up and fill his void, because he was tremendous in the last campaign. Snoddy looks like one of the ones who’s going to do that.

“As he showed in the second half [against Malta], he can not only play but also score goals. He has a leadership, a drive about him that influences others and that’s going to be really important in the absence of Scott Brown.”

Scotland’s next outing in Group F is against Lithuania at Hampden next month, and McGhee says the players will need to raise their game.

He is certain, though, that the squad possesses enough of the qualities required to command the ball at home and overcome a well-organised and packed defence.

“We have players who can do that,” McGhee said.

“We have people like Ikechi Anya who was fantastic in the last campaign, James Forrest is back to his best, Oliver Burke has made a fantastic move, we saw what Robert Snodgrass was capable of, Steven Fletcher scored again, and we’ve got others who haven’t played.

“So we’ve got plenty of options and ways that we can break down Lithuania, given the form a lot of players are in.

“The next one [against Lithuania] is a different prospect, a more difficult game, but with the huge advantage of being at home.

“They’ll be determined, fit, hard to break down. They’re likely to sit in a bit, but they’ll be capable on the counter-attack, so we have to be vigilant.

“We watch a lot of video, we understand them as individuals and as a team, we know what they’re likely to do and we give as much of that information as we can to the players. Then it’s up to the players to produce the form that they’ve been producing at their clubs.

“We’re unlikely to beat Lithuania by five goals, it will be a lot tighter than that. We’re going to have to earn the win.

“We felt we could take a risk in the Malta game [with] the starting line-up and system in order to find things out about people. This time, we will start with the team that is right for the 90 minutes and not, to a degree, to find out about players.”

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