Scotland urged to keep their cool

04 September 2017 06:12:33 EST
Scott Brown is walking a suspension tightrope.

Gordon Strachan is concerned that some of his Scotland players may pick up silly yellow cards in the World Cup qualifier against Malta.

Scott Brown, Leigh Griffiths, James McArthur, Charlie Mulgrew and Grant Hanley will all miss the qualifier against Slovakia if they are booked against Malta, who were beaten by England 4-0 on Friday.

Scotland improved their chances of reaching next summer's World Cup finals in Russia by easing to a 3-0 victory in Lithuania three days ago and are 15/4 to beat Malta by the same scoreline.

Former Middlesbrough boss Strachan is concerned that his players may find it difficult to keep their composure against a Malta side that are renowned for their robust play, saying: "We advised these guys the other night - yes, get angry but don't kick the ball away or shout at the referee.

"Play the game. But just don't do silly things. If you get booked by making a tackle that's going to help us or you make a mistake, then there is nothing we can do about that.

"Stand up and be counted. Don't be bullied by anyone for the sake of not getting that yellow card."

Strachan admits patience could be the key to the game at Hampden, pointing out that England may have scored four goals against Malta, but three of them came in the last few minutes.

He added: "It's about being patient to find areas where to play at a high tempo. I think we know how difficult it is going to be to break Malta down.

"They have good pride playing for their country. They make it hard for you."

Scotland are 10/1 to qualify for next year's World Cup finals while Mulgrew is 3/1 to score at any time against Malta on Monday.

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