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STU REVEALS SCOTS ARE BACKING McLEISH

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STUART ARMSTRONG has revealed under-pressure boss Alex McLeish has the full backing of the Scotland international players ahead of the UEFA Nations League double-header.

The Scots go into Saturday’s encounter in Albania on the back of consecutive defeats from Portugal and Israel, who will provide the opposition at Hampden on Tuesday as the curtain comes down on the qualifiers.

McLeish has won just two of his first eight matches in charge second time around, but former Celtic midfielder Armstrong, who joined Southampton in a £7million deal in the summer, is confident the fortunes of his country will turn around.

He said: “We’re all behind him and I think what would show that the best are performances and results.

“We certainly have the belief. The performance last time out against Portugal wasn’t great and everyone knows that, so it’s up to us to turn that around and put in a good performance.”

The national side, beaten 2-1 following an unfortunate own goal from Kieran Tierney, were booed off the pitch at the end of the game and Armstrong has no complaints.

 SCOTLAND THE RAVE…Stuart Armstrong made a superb international debut in the win over Slovenia in March 2017.

He added: “Criticism is part of football. It is always going to be there and it always will be there when things aren’t going the way we want them to and the fans want them to.

“We only have ourselves to blame in that respect. It was a poor performance and something we won’t want to repeat again.”

McLeish took over from Gordon Strachan following the Scots’ failure to reach the World Cup Finals in Russia during the summer.

However, he has been hit by a string of call-offs with the likes of West Ham’s Robert Snodgrass and Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie insisting they would prefer to concentrate on their club commitments.

Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur has also made himself unavailable for selection in recent squads.

McLeish, though, has to find a solution to his nation’s problems before it is too late.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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