Gordon Strachan has insisted he is upbeat over Scotland’s 2016 European Championship qualifying group despite many already writing off the Scots’ chances of reaching the finals in France.
Strachan’s men have been handed one of the tougher groups in the European section of the draw, joining Germany, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Georgia and *cough* Gibraltar in Group D.
While the Scots could be forgiven for wishing of being drawn in an easier group in their bid to reach the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1998 World Cup, Strachan has insisted his squad are more than capable of ending that drought – despite the live football commentary on the bet365 website suggesting otherwise.
“It is exciting. There are some groups you might call mundane but we’re definitely in an exciting group that should excite everybody,” said the Scotland manager.
“This is a real good level that the players have got to play at. I think if we play to the level we can play, and where we want to go to, we can definitely qualify.”
With Germany the heavy favourites to top the group, it would appear to be a straight battle between Poland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland for the second automatic qualifying position, with the third place team advancing to a play-offs.
After going 16 years without reaching a major tournament, this new qualifying format could well offer the Scots their best chance of ending that extended absence away from the big time.
Coming off the back of their latest failure to reach a major tournament, Strachan was able to take some positives away from how Scotland ended their World Cup qualification run, ending their Group A campaign with victories over Macedonia and Croatia.
While those victories haven’t convinced many fans who bet on football that Scotland can reach the 2016 European Championships, Strachan’s men shouldn’t be ruled out of causing a surprise.