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Scotland have strength in depth – Strachan

Scotland have strength in depth – Strachan
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan was impressed by John McGinn’s display at the weekend
World Cup qualifying: Scotland v Slovakia
Venue: Hampden Park Date: Thursday, 5 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan says he can cope without Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong and Matt Ritchie.

Strachan cited the weekend performances of Hibernian midfielder John McGinn, Celtic’s Callum McGregor and Sheffield Wednesday’s Barry Bannan.

Darren Fletcher, James McArthur and James Morrison are also available.

“They’re three good players missing, but it’s a strong area for us,” Strachan said before Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.

“We’ve added Callum, who scored two at the weekend, John McGinn, who scored two at the weekend and was fantastic, and Barry Bannan, who was magnificent at the weekend with his team.

“That shows how strong we are and from there we could probably add another three or four midfield players. We’re OK there.”

Celtic’s McGregor and Hibs’ McGinn both scored twice when their sides met at the weekend

Scotland need to win their final two qualifying games to guarantee finishing second in Group F, then hope results elsewhere secure them a place in the play-offs.

Despite being injured, Brown will play a part in the build-up by spending time with the squad while they prepare for Thursday’s game at Hampden.

Strachan’s side lost 3-0 in Slovakia 12 months ago, but he believes his players can deal with the threat of Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik, who he describes as “world class”.

“We’ve put ourselves in this position where we can decide our future,” Strachan said. “There’s nothing better in football than you deciding your future.

“If we have more of the ball than they have it’s less likely [Hamsik] is going to have a chance. That’s the secret – be aware of the good players but make sure you have more of the ball.

“I doubt very much you’d keep him quiet for the whole game, he’s just too good. There are strong players in that side, they know each other well. They’re like a good club side.”

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths only trained briefly with the rest of the squad before going through an individual routine on Monday, but Strachan said that was to even up the numbers in training and “there is nothing wrong with him”.

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