World Cup 2018: Scotland relishing Slovakia game - Gordon Strachan

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Scotland: 'Our destiny is in our own hands' - Strachan

Scotland head coach Gordon Strachan says players are clamouring to be part of his squad as they feel they are on the verge of a major achievement.

Victories over Malta and Lithuania have raised hopes Scotland can beat Slovakia and Slovenia in the final Group F games and claim a World Cup play-off place.

"I spoke to one or two lads over the past few weeks and they are really looking forward to this," he said.

"They think this is huge and they all want to be involved."

Scotland have not reached the finals of a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup.

But wins against Malta and Lithuania have taken Strachan's side to within a point of second-placed Slovakia as they chase a place in the World Cup qualifying play-offs to have a chance of reaching the 2018 finals in Russia.

The head coach has picked a familiar squad, with uncapped Leeds United defender Liam Cooper the only player not to have been included for the two most recent games.

"I'm looking forward to catching up with them," said Strachan. "It's always good to catch up with good players who are feeling good about themselves. It's a privilege to work with these guys."

The Scots made a poor start to their campaign with only four points gathered in their first four group matches.

Slovakia's Adam Nemec celebrates scoring against Scotland
Scotland must overcome a Slovakia side that beat them 3-0 last October

However, 10 points from the subsequent four games mean they will finish second behind leaders England if they win their next two - and Strachan says they are confident they can do it.

"If we didn't have belief in each other, we wouldn't be at the stage where we could talk positively, understanding that our destiny is in our own hands," he said.

"If there were any people who didn't believe in what we were doing, or didn't trust us, then we wouldn't be here. But we are here and we are all relishing it."

Slovakia are first up at Hampden Park on 5 October and Strachan says his players believe they can avenge the 3-0 defeat suffered in Trnava almost exactly a year before.

"Between them and the five million people who are supporting us, and I know they are supporting us because I bump into them every day no matter where I am in the world, we are looking forward to a great occasion," he added.

"We know it could be an occasion that we get disappointed, but we are not thinking that way.

"We believe destiny is in our own hands for these two games and, the way the players have been performing, we relish the challenge."

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