World Cup 2018: Gordon Strachan looks to enthuse Scotland fans
|International friendly: Scotland v Canada|
|Date: Wednesday 22 March Venue: Easter Road, Edinburgh Kick-off: 19:45 GMT|
|Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website|
Gordon Strachan hopes good results against Canada and Slovenia can reignite the Tartan Army’s enthusiasm for his Scotland side.
The Scots host Canada in a friendly at Easter Road ahead of a “must-win” World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
But, with only four points from four games, ticket sales have been poor for Wednesday’s match in Edinburgh.
“There is a disappointment among the fans, but that can all be changed by one result,” said head coach Strachan.
“If you asked most clubs, if you’re doing well, you’re selling tickets. If you’re not doing well, you’re not selling tickets. That’s football.
“We have to change that and hopefully we can do that with a good result on Wednesday, but the main thing is beating Slovenia on Sunday.
“What we’ve got to do over the next couple of games, especially on Sunday, is make them feel better about themselves.”
Scotland’s last outing was a 3-0 defeat away to Group F leaders England in November, which left Strachan’s side in fifth place.
“The feedback I’ve got is that everybody thought the players against England did as well as they expected them to do,” said Strachan.
“What they didn’t expect was three shots at goal and three going in.”
Five Celtic players will not be involved against Canada after playing in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Dundee.
The exception will be Leigh Griffiths, the striker who has not started any of Celtic’s last 13 games.
Strachan will pick a team to strike a balance between preparation for Sunday and giving players much-needed match fitness.
“A majority of our players are not playing regularly, so that’s what we’ll be using the game for – to win, to make ourselves feel better for ourselves and these guys who have not played for a while to play as many minutes as they can,” he said.
“If you look at our five strikers, only one of them started at the weekend and it didn’t just happen at the weekend, it’s happened before.
“That’s where were are at the moment, but we have dealt with that in the past.
“We are hoping that the side we announce – we might announce it a bit earlier – will play with high energy in attack and do a lot of things people like to see.”
West Brom winger Matt Phillips and Newcastle United defender Grant Hanley will not be involved in either game after pulling out of the squad on Saturday through injury.
However, Phillips’ club-mate, James Morrison, could be available to face Slovenia despite being ruled out of Saturday’s win over Arsenal with an ankle injury.
Fellow midfielder James McArthur also missed out on Saturday for Crystal Palace with a back problem but could yet return to the squad should he recover in time after visiting a specialist on Monday.
Strachan is expecting to face a Canada side full of attacking intent.
“They’re a hard-working side who are always developing – obviously it’s not their national sport,” he added.
“They like to get forward. They like to get the balls in the box and they have a bit of energy and enthusiasm about them and a couple of guys who play in Scotland, so we know about them.”