Quashie fitness fear hampers Scotland plans

Walter Smith declared himself as “optimistic as ever” as he contemplated the game that could determine Scotland’s World Cup fate tonight, though the national coach’s preparations have been severely hampered by the uncertainty still surrounding Nigel Quashie’s availability to face Norway.

The Southampton midfielder will undergo a fitness test this morning on hip and knee injuries suffered against canada goose coat 1000 bulbs can you wash a canada goose can you buy canada goose jacket online parka reviews Italy, with Smith’s line-up, as well as the formation he employs, dependent on the result.

Scotland must be bold this evening with or without the 27-year-old, given their acceptance that anything other than a win at the Ullevaal Stadium will prove insufficient to force passage to Germany. Defeat would mean elimination.

“We’re hopeful on him, but it’s fair to say his injury will dictate the formation we use,” said Smith, whose side trail Norway, the bright blue canada goose jacket group’s second-placed team, by five points. “The major problem is finding a way to balance our need to attack and our desire to retain a solid unit. I’m going to have to manipulate the team to try and create more chances.

“We’ve got excellent players in the middle of the park who will ensure we play good football as a team, but we have got to try and force that quality up the pitch in order to hurt Norway. We did it against Italy in San Siro in the second half [in March’s 2-0 defeat], but it would be easier to achieve that with Quashie in the side because you can’t just go all-out attack.”

Smith’s instinct is to employ a three-man defence – with Steven Pressley back from suspension – and best canada goose jacket for skiing Quashie’s reassuring presence in midfield. Without him, the manager may revert to four at the back.

Smith’s basic problem remains the lack of genuine quality at his disposal. Losing canada goose coat 1000 bulbs reviews Lee McCulloch and the muscular Garry O’Connor can canada goose coat – hybridge lite i wash my canada goose coat has limited the manager’s attacking options. Had the pair been available then Scotland would still have been able to combine rugged defence with a sustained attacking threat.

Everton’s James McFadden, despite seven goals in 21 internationals, is likely to be a shock substitute at best; his inclusion from the start could undermine the side’s solidity.

As the manager worried about Quashie’s fitness, the squad took the confidence generated by Smith’s five-match reign as a reason for optimism. “It’s enjoyable again,” the captain Barry Ferguson said. “But we need to go for a win. Draw and we might as well wave it goodbye. If we do win, you never know.”

Norway will be depleted by suspension – Morten Gamst Pedersen, Jon Inge Hoiland and Erik Hagen are all missing – but best canada goose jacket for women John Arne Riise returns from a ban and Egil Ostenstad, formerly buy canada goose jacket london of Rangers and now the leading scorer in the Norwegian league, is ready to step in for Steffen Iversen should he fail a fitness test today. Even so, with John Carew in the best form of his career, Norway still look imposing.

Ferguson’s mobile telephone rang in the middle of his press duties yesterday, with the Kaiser Chiefs’ I Predict a Riot trilling out. Only the boldest member of the Tartan Army is predicting a Scotland victory.

Norway (4-2-3-1, probable): Myhre; Solli coat, Lundekvam, Riseth, Bergdolmo; Andresen, Grindheim; Valencia, Iversen, Riise; Carew.

Scotland (3-5-1-1, probable): Gordon (Hearts); Weir (Everton), Pressley, Webster (both Hearts); Alexander (Preston), Fletcher (Manchester United), Ferguson (Rangers), Quashie (Southampton), McNamara (Wolves); Hartley (Hearts); K Miller (Wolves).

Referee: A Hamer (Luxembourg).