Rab Douglas: It’s win or bust for Scotland in Lithuania

August 31 2017, 9.00amUpdated: August 31 2017, 8.43am
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Scotland's Leigh Griffiths celebrates his first goal against England.

Scotland travel to play Lithuania in Vilnius tomorrow night with one simple aim – they have to win no matter what.

The national side obviously have to hope results elsewhere go their way but they must take care of their own business first and foremost in their World Cup qualifier.

In their last game against England, you were thinking it was going to be a famous victory but sadly it wasn’t to be.

Wee Leigh Griffiths scored two outstanding free-kicks and we probably deserved a win over the piece.

“Sparky” is a natural goal-scorer and I have always said that is the main thing about him.

He is working harder as a player in general now. I think Brendan Rodgers is moulding him into that type but he still has that wee bit of magic about him.

Scoring goals is what he thrives on – that is the main thing he is about.

We still have a chance of qualifying but for me we are drinking in the last-chance saloon.

If we don’t turn up and play, all the hard work we put in against England will be just a waste of time.

The stadium in Lithuania is quite tight but if you want to qualify you have to go to awkward places and horrible grounds.

I cannot see it being any worse than the one we played at in the Faeroes years ago in what was Berti Vogts’ first game in charge.

We went 2-0 behind but ended up drawing 2-2.

The pitch was on the side of a hill. I had never seen anything like it – it was unbelievable.

There is an artificial surface at the stadium in Vilnius and I noticed that St Johnstone’s Murray Davidson who played on it against FK Trakai said it’s the worst he’s ever experienced.

Whether those sorts of pitches should be allowed for internationals is open to debate.

There are pros and cons. For internationals, I am not so sure.

They are good for the lower leagues in Scotland bringing in extra revenues but they have to be renewed every so often, maintained and looked after.

That’s key. I must say I enjoyed playing on the artificial surface when I was at Forfar.

They have to be watered as when they are dry especially as a goalie you really feel it when you dive. It turns into more of a burn rather than a graze that you would get on grass.

But Scotland just have to put all distractions like the pitch to one side.

Nobody would have expected us to get a result against England so we just need to replicate the display but hopefully with a different result this time.

 

I was an interested spectator at the Dundee v Hibs game on Sunday.

A draw was probably a fair result over the piece and from a Dundee perspective, I think all they need at the moment is a striker to play up front with Faissal El Bakhtaoui.

With Marcus Haber and Sofien Moussa injured, the striker thing is the main talking point but I thought from back to middle they looked comfy against Hibs.

They seem bigger, stronger and have brought better players in to replace the ones who left last year.

I really like the lad Glen Kamara but the two young centre-backs Jack Hendry and Kerr Waddell were very composed.

I also thought Scott Bain was outstanding and he looked back to his strong and confident best. The second half it was almost all Hibs and Scott contributed massively to Dundee getting a point.

It was the first time I had seen Hibs this season and I was also impressed by the way they are playing under my pal Neil Lennon.

I had been speaking to him during the week and I was going to meet him on Saturday night but they were over in St Andrews.

Lenny texted me after the game and I said I was in the Clep Bar so he replied saying he would pop up from Dens and he came along.

It was probably a different environment for him and I think he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

The lads from the supporters’ club that is named after me, the Big Rabbie Ds, were all in and it was great with everybody getting their picture taken with him.

Sadly that’s the side of Lenny that people don’t see. They are quick enough to judge him but he is a winner and you want winners in your team otherwise you just end up constantly losing.

I have a charity golf day and he comes every year so it bugs me when people who don’t even know him slaughter him.

He is a top guy and that’s why he is doing so well at Hibs.

Lenny seems really settled at the club and is enjoying it.

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