Scottish Gossip: Scotland, Slovakia, Darren Fletcher, Gordon Strachan

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FOOTBALL GOSSIP

Scotland captain Darren Fletcher says the squad is completely behind Gordon Strachan and everyone is determined to reward the manager's loyalty with a big performance against Slovakia. (Various)

Fletcher says Strachan's "knowledge of the game, his detail, preparation and his ideas are unbelievable". (Various)

Former Scotland striker Kevin Gallacher thinks the team are "more than capable" of finishing second in World Cup qualifying Group F but warns that Scotland do not want to be heading to Wembley on 11 November off the back of defeat in Slovakia. (Daily Record)

Gallacher opines that to succeed in a qualifying group, the third seeds, such as Scotland, have to win all their matches against the teams below them and at least one of the teams ranked above them. (Times)

And Gallacher feels that Scotland's weakness is in defence. "When you worry about the back door and losing goals, you forget about scoring goals," he says. (Scotsman)

Scotland captain Darren Fletcher had to sit out training with a thigh injury
Scotland captain Darren Fletcher had to sit out training on Monday night with a thigh injury

Defender Steven Whittaker urges the Tartan Army to be patient as Gordon Strachan rebuilds the team. Scott Brown has retired since the doomed Euro 2016 qualification campaign, and Ikechi Anya, Alan Hutton, Charlie Mulgrew, Shaun Maloney, Steven Naismith, Steven Fletcher and James Morrison, all key figures in the previous campaign, have yet to start a game. (Sun)

Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie thinks the point salvaged by Scotland against Lithuania on Saturday could turn out to be vital to the team's qualification chances. He describes the two points dropped as "a bump" on the long road to qualifying for the World Cup. (Various)

Lithuania goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus remarks that he thought Scotland would have been better than they showed at Hampden. (Sun)

David Marshall hopes for a better experience in goal for Scotland than when he was last in Slovakia - as the Celtic goalkeeper 11 years ago when Artmedia Bratislava hammered the Scots 5-0 in Gordon Strachan's first match in charge of the club. "It doesn't get much worse than that," laments Marshall. (Various)

Dundee's Dusan Vrto
Dusan Vrto says he understands that Slovak boss Jan Kozak is trying to dampen expectations after the country reached the last 16 of Euro 2016

Darren Fletcher voices his despair at the England fans who boo his former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney. (Sun)

Jan Kozak will send out an attack-minded Slovakia team to play Scotland, as he seeks to make up for "unnecessary losses" against England and Slovenia. (Herald)

Former Dundee captain Dusan Vrto says Kozak upset some Slovakia fans by warning them that, as a small nation, they could not simply expect to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. (Sun)

Scotland's Under-21s will round off their failed 2017 European Championship qualifying campaign with a match early on Tuesday evening away to Macedonia. New manager Scot Gemmill watched his team lose 2-0 to Iceland last week as he gave several players their debuts. (Various)

Hearts captain Perry Kitchen hopes to be involved at some stage for Jurgen Klinsmann's United States as they play New Zealand in Washington. The midfielder was an unused sub in Friday's 2-0 win over Cuba. (Daily Record)

Former Rangers and Scotland left-winger Davie Wilson recalls travelling to Bratislava with Scotland 55 years ago and losing a World Cup qualifier 4-0. (Times)

Islam Feruz was on loan from Chelsea at Hibs last season
Islam Feruz was on loan from Chelsea at Hibs for part of last season

On the day Joey Barton was due to return to Rangers for training - before he was ordered to stay away from the club for another week - he climbed Ben Lomond and posted a photo of his achievement on Instagram. (Daily Record)

Celtic centre-half Erik Sviatchenko feels "refreshed" after his injury lay-off and says manager Brendan Rodgers is helping him to prepare for matches and improving his tactical understanding. (Various)

Jordan Rossiter could be fit for Rangers' match away to Inverness on Friday after recovering fully from a calf strain he sustained while playing for England Under-20s. (Various)

Jackie McNamara is to remain in charge of York City but only for as long as it takes to find someone to replace him. (Various)

Former Rangers midfielder Alex Rae thinks manager Mark Warburton must play Jason Holt and Andy Halliday whenever he can. (Daily Record)

Islam Feruz, who at 14 burst on to the scene at Celtic in a memorial game for Tommy Burns, urges 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele, who played for Celtic's Under-20s recently, to trust his family and stick to football to avoid the same pitfalls he encountered. Feruz, now 21, is still on Chelsea's books but is currently on loan at Belgian club Excel Mouscron. (Sun)

OTHER GOSSIP

Olympic silver medallist Dan Wallace hits out at sport's drug cheats who tarnish the achievements of "clean" athletes like himself. (Herald)

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