Scotland: Coach Eric Black is so impressed with quality in national squad

Malky Mackay and Eric Black
Eric Black (right) was called into the Scotland set-up by Malky Mackay for the friendly against Netherlands
International friendly: Scotland v Netherlands
Venue: Pittodrie Stadium, Aberdeen Date: Thursday, 9 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Eric Black believes many players in the Scotland squad are good enough to be playing in England's Premier League.

The 54-year-old has joined the squad to assist interim Scotland manager Malky Mackay and has been very encouraged.

"Ninety per cent of my time is spent looking at Premier League games," Black said.

"I was really impressed this morning in terms of the quality that I saw as football players and certainly as boys that wanted to play."

Following the withdrawal of Stoke City's Darren Fletcher due to injury, the only players in the Scotland squad plying their trade in England's Premier League are Liverpool's Andy Robertson, Ryan Fraser of Bournemouth and Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion.

But Black, a former assistant manager at Birmingham City, Sunderland, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and still a coach with Southampton, believes plenty of others in the squad have the quality to cut it in England's top flight.

"It's only one session, it might be a big statement but there's certainly players there [who] can play in the Premier League, no question," he added

"I just thought they handled the ball extremely well. I was really encouraged with what I saw.

"The level's going up and up and up. Celtic are helping to raise the bar in that regard with playing Champions League football.

Aberdeen's Kenny McLean and Jason Cummings of Nottingham Forest
Aberdeen's Kenny McLean and Jason Cummings of Nottingham Forest will be keen to make an impact on Thursday

"They play against Aberdeen and Hearts and everybody else, which lifts the level again because of the standard of the Celtic team."

Black had no hesitation in joining up with Mackay ahead of the friendly meeting with Netherlands at Pittodrie on Thursday.

Mackay is the SFA's performance director and Black insists the former Watford, Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic manager has all the necessary experience to make a difference.

"I worked with him at Wigan so I know Malky inside out," he said. "I saw also him operating at Cardiff at the highest level and I was down visiting him a couple of times and had a look at the structure that he put in place there.

"Malky can operate at the highest level - that I have no doubt in my mind. I've seen, I know he can do it. I'm not surprised in any shape or form at what he's trying to put in place, the professionalism that he's trying to put in place and I'm happy to be part of that.

"Malky's doing such a wonderful job. What he's doing, he's had a real impact for me with the youth teams and the structures he's putting in there. Malky's focusing on that.

"He's been given the opportunity to manage the country for once and he's taken it, as any of us would, and will do it to the best of our abilities and we'll see what happens."

While admitting the coaching staff "can't reinvent the wheel in two sessions," Black says the Scots will be going for the win when Netherlands visit Aberdeen on Thursday.

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