Slovenia v Scotland: 'Have no regrets' in World Cup bid, urges Paul Lambert

Chris Martin scored a late winner to beat Slovenia at Hampden in March
Chris Martin scored a late winner to beat Slovenia at Hampden in March
World Cup qualifying: Slovenia v Scotland
Venue: Stozice Stadium Date: Sunday, 8 October Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Former captain Paul Lambert is urging Scotland to take a positive approach into Sunday's vital World Cup qualifier in Slovenia.

Victory would guarantee second place in Group F and a possible play-off.

"They don't need to go gung-ho but I don't think they can be too cagey; we can't play that way," said Lambert.

"Everything is riding on this, so go in thinking 'this is the last throw of the dice, leave no regrets', then I think they have a great chance."

Scotland's dramatic 1-0 victory over Slovakia in Glasgow on Thursday has taken Gordon Strachan's side into second place.

But they must win to be sure of staying there, with the Slovaks just two points behind and with a superior goal difference ahead of a home game with Malta.

World Cup qualifying Group F

"They've got 90 minutes to get the result, so they can wait and play on the counter-attack, which is a great weapon," added Lambert, who won 40 caps for his country.

"We have to be confident and resolute; they are going to have put their bodies on the line. It's about getting the result by any means.

"Possession doesn't matter, it's just about scoring one more goal than them, regardless of how you do it.

"Football can be about formations and tactics but so much comes from within. It's about how much you want it, how much you want to achieve things."

Scotland are unbeaten in their last five qualifying matches, winning four, with England the only team to score against them in that run.

Paul Lambert was in the Scotland team that played the first game of the 1998 World Cup against Brazil
Lambert was in the Scotland team that played the first game of the 1998 World Cup against Brazil

Former Norwich and Aston Villa boss Lambert told BBC Scotland: "Four or five games ago, everyone thought 'we are nowhere near it' and people were asking 'is Gordon Strachan going to stay on?'

"But he has turned it round fantastically."

Slovenia can only move up to second from fourth with a win, combined with an unlikely slip-up from Slovakia.

"It will be a really hard game, they haven't conceded a goal at home in this campaign," said Lambert, 48.

"A lot depends on their mindset. If they turn up thinking 'we're out of it', that will definitely affect them but they could say 'this is our last game at home in front of our fans, let's put on a show'.

"That will come from the manager [Srecko Katanec], who is stepping down after the game."

Lambert played in the last Scotland team to reach a World Cup, starting every group game at France 98, including the tournament opener - a 2-1 loss to Brazil.

That team, managed by Craig Brown, won seven of their 10 qualifiers, losing just once.

Paul Lambert (left) applauds fans after securing World Cup qualification at Celtic Park
Lambert (left) applauds fans after securing World Cup qualification at Celtic Park

"The euphoria after beating Latvia [to seal qualification] was such a great feeling," added Lambert. "You don't get many chances to play at a World Cup.

"We never played at Hampden (which was under redevelopment) and the atmosphere was unbelievable in every game. We were at Ibrox, Celtic Park and Aberdeen - great venues, with the fans right on top of you.

"We also had a very good side. At the time, people probably thought it was just an okay side but, when you look back, we had some top players.

"There weren't too many times I came away from an international thinking we've been well beaten, including Brazil; we were well in that game.

"Twenty years is too long for Scotland not to qualify for a major tournament.

"The lads have put themselves in a good position to try and get there, which we haven't had in a long time."

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