Malta v Scotland: Strachan's team must have belief, says James McFadden

Matt Ritchie celebrates
Scotland have won two and lost two of their matches so far this year
World Cup qualifying: Malta v Scotland
Date: Sunday, 4 September Venue: Ta'Qali National Stadium Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Scotland must aim to win their World Cup qualifying group, says Motherwell's James McFadden.

Gordon Strachan's side, who are in the same group as England, face Malta away on Sunday in their opening qualifier.

"We've got to be confident we're going to win the group," said former Scotland striker McFadden, who won 48 caps and scored 15 goals for his country between 2002 and 2010.

"We've got to believe or we're as well not turning up."

Scotland finished fourth in their Euro 2016 qualifying group, with the three sides above them - Germany, Poland and the Republic of Ireland - all progressing to this summer's finals.

In the nine World Cup qualifying groups made up of Uefa nations, group winners will gain automatic places in the 2018 finals in Russia while the eight best runners-up will enter two-legged play-offs for the four remaining qualification spots.

James McFadden
McFadden has moved into coaching in recent months

As well as Malta and England, Scotland will play Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia in Group F.

"It'll be tough, because there are some tough teams in it, but we've got to express ourselves and do better than we did in the last group," said McFadden, 33.

"We need the injection of youth but there are a few players there who could be looking at it and thinking this could be their last chance, so it's got to be the point where we step up and take it to the teams in the group."

McFadden, who is assistant manager at Motherwell in addition to playing, never formally retired from international duty but said of his Scotland career: "I would say that's it done.

"The fact that in the last few years I've not been involved would tell you it's not going to happen again.

"I got 48 [caps], I'm happy. I'm not going to start moaning that I never got another two.

"Before I started my career I'd have taken a minute on the pitch and that would have been enough for me."

Top Stories