Serbia vs Scotland: Ally McCoist thinks underdog tag can help Scotland | Football News

first_imgAlly McCoist thinks the underdog factor can work in Scotland’s favour in Thursday’s winner-takes-all play-off in Serbia – a game he’s calling the biggest in 20 years.Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, but come into this crucial game on a fine run of form.- Advertisement – “The team is looking a lot better with some solidarity about them. Lyndon Dykes has given us a focal point. I’m the eternal Scottish optimist. I’m very hopeful although I do appreciate it’s a very big task ahead.”McCoist’s recollections are ones Scotland fans know all too well in the years since they last qualified for a major tournament in 1998.From the torment of defeats to the Netherlands and Italy in the mid-2000s to more recent woes, Scotland will be desperate to lay those shortcomings to rest, hold their nerve, and make history.McCoist remains the last Scottish player to score a winning goal at a major tournament when firing home a memorable strike vs Switzerland at Villa Park during Euro ’96. James McFadden started when Scotland were beaten 2-1 by Italy in 2007Image:James McFadden started when Scotland were beaten 2-1 by Italy in 2007 McCoist celebrates his winning goal vs Switzerland in 1996Image:McCoist celebrates his winning goal vs Switzerland in 1996 Those type of special memories haven’t been experienced by the modern-day Scottish international and that should be motivation in itself for this group, according to McCoist.“Clearly you want to do it for the country and the fans but I’d love to see them do it for themselves,” he said.“To represent your country at a major championship is magnificent. The memories I’ve got from World Cups and European Championships will be with me until my grave. I hold them so dearly.“We’ve had a generation of fantastic players like Darren Fletcher, Barry Ferguson, Scott Brown – boys like that – who haven’t made major finals and I’m gutted for them. So, I would be thrilled for the players and their families if they could do it.“It would be magic. What a boost it would be. We know how important football is.” Thursday 12th November 7:00pm Lyndon Dykes is hoping to be a hero as Scotland try to qualify for Euro 2020 – Advertisement – preview image Kick off 7:45pm Qualification for a first tournament since 1998 will give a ‘frustrated generation’ of Scotland fans, and the entire country, a lift says James McFadden They have put together four wins (one by penalty shoot-out) and a draw since August as Steve Clarke has galvanised the team to have this one last shot at qualification to the rescheduled European Championships, where England, Croatia and the Czech Republic would await them in Group D.Sky Sports has made this match of historic, national significance available free-to-air in recognition of the unique circumstances and the impact the pandemic is having on fans.McCoist thinks Scotland will relish being the underdogs.- Advertisement – 0:45 “I’d have bitten your hand off for an opportunity like this. There was a period where it looked like we wouldn’t get this chance and now we’ve got it. It’s great news.“We’re second favourites but I’ve been Scottish for long enough to know that being the underdog suits us.- Advertisement – Four years later, McFadden and Scotland were again left disappointed after losing 2-1 to Italy in November 2007 in the final stages of Euro 2008 qualification.“When I was playing and we would have these games, the Holland game I think I was 20, you just assume it is going to happen every campaign – you are going to get a play-off, you are going to get close.“And then you go to the Italy game, it turned into a one-off game. If we won that game we would have managed to qualify. It didn’t happen like that. He told Sky Sports News: “Without doubt, it’s the biggest game in over 20 years. And I’m pleased punters can watch it and get behind the team. I’m so pleased for everybody. Fingers crossed we can get a result. James McFadden, part of that generation that missed out on playing at major finals, echoed McCoist’s sentiments as he spoke from personal experience when he said these Scotland players cannot afford to pass up another golden opportunity at qualification.A young McFadden was breaking through when he was picked to start against the Netherlands in November 2003 by then-Scotland boss Berti Vogts.Scotland won the first leg at home 1-0 thanks to McFadden’s strike but were hammered 6-0 in the return tie to miss out on a place at Euro 2004. Highlights of the Euro 2020 qualifying play-off match between Scotland and Israel “There is a frustrated generation that haven’t seen Scotland at a major tournament. There are also the generations before that who are used to seeing Scotland and the disappointment of not reaching a major finals is there for everyone.“I just hope that the players can turn up, give it their best, and really play the way that they have been in the last three games, give us a good chance of qualifying and try and give the whole country a lift.” 4:27last_img read more

Rivers United eye NPFL title, commend Eunisell for support

first_imgRivers United are confident that they can challenge for the Nigeria Professional Football League title with support from their front-of-shirt partner, Eunisell.According to the Rivers United General Manager, Okey Kpalukwu, the Port Harcourt-based club is in the running to win the league title this season and they have put every measure in place to keep their players on their toes despite an enforced break by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic across the World. Kpalukwu said: “We are not hoping for anything less because we also want to be champions.“But all of that will be determined on the pitch.“Although we are praying to win the league, we will also put in our efforts and do what is necessary to make it easier for us to actualise our ambition.“So we are not planning less.“We are planning to win the league like every other team at the top of the standings.” Kpalukwu also spoke on their thriving partnership with Eunisell, describing it as “one of a kind.”He commended Eunisell for backing the club through thick and thin, adding that the chemical and specialty fluid organisation’s contribution to the club cannot go unnoticed.He said: “Our partnership with Eunisell is one of a kind.“This is something most clubs are looking forward to having and that is why we must commend Eunisell for this partnership they have kept over the years with us.“They have never failed us and they have always shown a huge presence. “This has given the players some kind of boost as well.“The partnership also points to the fact that we are looking for ways of new streams of income away from what the state government has given to us.“At the same time, the relationship has been a balanced one.“Rivers United played in the continent in the past with Eunisell as the front-of-the-shirt sponsor and registered Eunisell as one of our shirt sponsors with CAF, which helped us use our branded jerseys on the continent.RelatedPosts NPFL: Coach Dogo leaves Sunshine Stars NFF sanctions NPFL 2019/2020 final table Rivers United again reject Point-Per-Game format “Now the Rivers people are aware of Eunisell’s contribution to the club, which has saved us costs.“We are grateful to them.”Rivers United Technical Manager/Head Coach, Stanley Eguma, also made the declaration that they want to win the title and finishing second was not part of their ambition.He explained that players and coaches have been holding meetings via social media platforms to keep team bonding.Eguma said: “We want to win the league title.“Everybody that is associated with Rivers United FC knows we cannot afford to play second fiddle.“The objective is to win the league title and we will not derail.“It has been hard.“I have been using technology.“We use Zoom and WhatsApp for team meetings.“The players have also been doing their personal training.“I have told all of them that the league can resume at any moment because no one knows when the COVID-19 will end.“So we are keeping ourselves prepared.”Captain of the club, Festus Austine, further reiterated their strong desire to win the title and would rather focus on the challenge instead of worry about the other contenders.Austine said: “The target is to win the trophy this season.“Every one of us understands what we need to do to achieve that.“Our target is to win the NPFL trophy.“We (the players) have a (WhatsApp) platform where we regularly remind ourselves what we want to achieve this season.“We are gunning for the league trophy and we are not relenting.“I also appreciate the players who know what they want.“And for the teams around us on the log, they have their respective destinies in their hands.“We at Rivers United have resolved that we are gunning for the league trophy and we will get it right.”Eunisell Limited Group Managing Director, Chika Ikenga, has also urged the Rivers United contingent to stay within touching distance of the title race and stay on their toes despite the pandemic.Ikenga said: “So far, Rivers United have done very well.“They are currently second on the table.“Right now, I urge everyone at the club to stay within the guidelines of the health authorities, as we look forward to the league restarting.“We are also urging them to give the title chase their best shot because we have faith in them, and that is why we are proud to be associated with the club.”With 13 match weeks to go, Rivers United are currently in second place with 45 points after 25 matches.Tags: EunisellGeneral Manager Okey KpalukwunpflRivers Unitedlast_img read more