Seeing Shaun Maloney in opposition dugout will be strange for McLeish

Sun, Dec 02 2018

Maloney in action for Scotland against Ireland back in 2015. Credit: Tom Beary

Macdara Ferris reports from Convention Centre Dublin

Scotland manager Alex McLeish joked that he has a “spy in the camp” of Belgium for the upcoming EURO 2020 qualification campaign. Shaun Maloney, the 47 time capped Scottish international, has recently joined the Red Devils back room team.

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has brought the former Celtic under 20 manager into his coaching team. Scotland have been drawn in Group I with Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino.

“He is a legend in Scottish football,” was McLeish’s response to Maloney’s managerial move when asked by extratime.ie. “Seeing him in the dugout will be a bit strange.”

Belgium beat England twice at last summer’s World Cup where they finished third. The Red Devils beat Scotland 4-0 in September’s friendly but McLeish reckons it will be a different outcome when they come to Scotland next.

“We would like to think that when Belgium come to Glasgow next time they will get more a difficult game than the last time.”

McLeish acknowledged that while Belgium are “a brilliant team” that Scotland can qualify and can take inspiration from other teams getting to the Euros.

“You have to punch above your weight. Teams did it in the last Euros. Northern Ireland got there. Albania got there. Hungary got there. That is the kind of challenge that faces Scotland to get back to a big tournament.”

It is 1996 since Scotland last made the European championship when England were the host and part of this upcoming tournament will be in Glasgow which is an added incentive.

The 51,000 Hampden Park will, like Dublin, host three group games and one round of last 16 match.

It would be awesome,” said McLeish speaking about the potential of these home games for the Tartan Army. “That is the goal - so no pressure there!”

 

Scotland recently topped their UEFA Nations League C group beating Albania twice along with a win over Israel to earn themselves promotion to League B.