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‘MY PAL GORDON IS A GAME AWAY FROM GLORY,’ BIG ECK

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ALEX McLEISH believes his pal Gordon Strachan is on the brink of one of Scotland’s greatest-ever triumphs.
The former international boss insists England have some “exceptional” players as they prepare for the crucial World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
Big Eck warned about the goalscoring talent of Harry Kane, but still reckoned his country have the ability to reverse the 3-0 loss at Wembley in November.
Big Eck said: “We did not see a ferocious intensity in that game.
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“We will need to make sure we keep hold of our resources and not become overzealous. We will see that at Hampden.
“I do expect Gordon to think carefully about his team selection.
“He will be assessing the fitness of a few because there will be some who haven’t played competitively now for some weeks.
“For instance, I think he will consider Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser and I also expect a few of the Celtic boys to feature.
“Scott Brown has enjoyed an excellent campaign and those lads under Brendan Rodgers will be absolutely raring to go.
“They are playing at the moment like they are frightened of no-one.
“If we had someone like Kane in our ranks it would make a huge difference. He’s scoring goals and he’s doing it consistently.
“So, I do think that while it’s not impossible to win, we are going to have to be 100 per cent at the back if we are to do so.
“Given the form the England strikers are in and the pressure of the fixture, if we did, I would say that victory would not only be the best result of Gordon’s career at Scotland so far, but one of the best of all time.”
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However, the 58-year-old much-travelled gaffer believes Gareth Southgate’s squad contains performers who will be a massive threat to the Scots’ hopes of reaching Russia next summer.
He added: “There are some players in this England team who are exceptional.
“They are not there yet, as a team, but they could be – and soon.
“I’m talking about the likes of Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
“Kane is the stand-out. He’s excelling. He’s at another level.
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“He’s moved upwards from where he was 12 months ago. As has Alli.
“When I look at Kane, I think back to the golden era of English football. The way he carries himself reminds me of another Spurs froward, Martin Chivers.
“Tall, elegant, scored lots of goals and some of them were spectacular.
“And I think John Stones will, in time, turn out to be a defender of real quality.
“Stones is like Rio Ferdinand was at the same age. They will bring the ball out and make the odd mistake.
“But when Stones learns when and where to play, he will be top class.
“Also, they have great athletes at full-back. They can cause any team problems.
“We’ve got our work cut out, that’s for sure.”
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