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‘The Faroes boys turned up in big, cream woolly jumpers’: Lee Wilkie on THE big mistake Scotland made in 2002

Christian Dailly (left) and Kevin Kyle look inconsolable after Scotland's humiliating 2-2 draw in the Faroe Islands back in 2002.
Christian Dailly (left) and Kevin Kyle look inconsolable after Scotland's humiliating 2-2 draw in the Faroe Islands back in 2002.

Former Scotland defender Lee Wilkie has lifted the lid on his experience of the Faroe Islands and warned the current crop against succumbing to complacency at Hampden tomorrow night.

Ex-Dundee and Dundee United centre-back Wilkie, who picked up 11 caps for his country, has been in close quarters with the Faroes on two occasions.

The first was memorable for all the wrong reasons, as the giant Dundonian sat on the bench in Toftir back in 2002, watching on as the Scots slumped to a 2-2 draw with the tiny island nation.

Berti Vogts’ side were two down after 13 minutes, thanks to a double from John Petersen, but came back to salvage a point through Paul Lambert and a late Barry Ferguson leveller.

John Petersen (No 10) gave the Faroes an early two-goal lead in Toftir.

The return game of that Euro 2004 qualifying campaign was a far happier occasion for Streaky, with the defender starting in a 3-1 win in Glasgow the following year.

However, if his trip to the North Atlantic taught Wilkie anything, it’s to never judge a book by its cover – or a Faroese by his jersey.

“I went to the Faroes and sat on the bench when we drew 2-2,” the 40-year-old said.

“The Faroes boys turned up in big, cream woolly jumpers and we were like: ‘Look at this lot, eh?’

“Then it was like boom and we’re 2-0 down!

“I got in the team after that because David Weir had a fallout with Berti and never came back. Berti slaughtered him.

“I played the next game against Iceland and scored so they launched my international career!

“We beat them in the return at home 3-1 and Scotland just having to be winning that at Hampden.”

Scotland need an early goal to settle any nerves against tricky Faroes

Wilkie has faith in Steve Clarke’s team to do the job against the Faroes but doesn’t believe it will be a case of simply turning up.

Three points is a must after draws against Austria (2-2) and Israel (1-1) last week has Scotland playing catch up on group leaders Denmark and the Austrians.

And the Faroes aren’t the pushovers they once were, according to Wilkie.

“Hopefully that experience (the 2-2 draw in 2002) should give them a kick up the backside to make sure they go and do a professional job,” he continued.

Some of the Scotland squad take a moment to view the landscape of the Faroe Islands. Left to right: David Weir, Graham Alexander, Gareth Williams, Scott Severin and Lee Wilkie.

“It would be a really huge disappointment if they don’t.

“Clarke will be just trying to get them to go out and get an early goal. The longer the game goes on and they don’t score then the bigger an issue it’ll become.

“They’re not a bad side. The Faroes went 1-0 up against Austria so they gave them a little bit of a scare and started really well.

“I think that’s something Scotland will be really aware of and they need to start properly.

“That’s one thing they’ve not done in the past wee while. Once they get into the game against Israel, they were better in the second half but they can’t allow teams to get a head start on you in international football.”

Qualification is still on for Scots believes Wilkie

As for their qualification hopes, Wilkie is confident they can still make it through Group F and on the plane to Qatar next year.

Although, he admits Scotland haven’t made life easy for themselves.

Wilkie added: “I think it’s all still there to play for, really.

“It’s going to be tough, that’s never changed from day one, and I think if they’d won one of those first two games it was still going to be a tall order.

The Scotland team that started their 3-1 win over the Faroe Islands at Hampden in 2003. Back row (left to right): Colin Cameron, Andy Webster, Rab Douglas, Lee Wilkie, Stevie Crawford, Gary Naysmith. Front row (L-R): Paul Dickov, Jackie McNamara, Barry Ferguson, Paul Devlin and Neil McCann.

“It’s going to be tight with Denmark and Austria, obviously good teams, and Israel have proved as well they’re a good side.

“You saw that in their first-half performance the other night but Scotland made them look a little bit better by sitting off them and letting them play.

“There’s going to be some really tough games and Scotland are going to have to produce some big results.

“Ideally, Clarke would have liked to have got a win and a draw to start. That would have left them looking a lot better.

“I saw Stephen O’Donnell’s interview and he said they’re unbeaten and trying to take positives from that, which is fair enough.

“They’ve played two pretty good teams and not been beaten so, if they can go on and have a really good performance against the Faroes, I still think it’s half decent.

“It’s far from perfect but it’s still pretty good.”

SCOTLAND ANALYSIS: The aggression has gone, get Allan McGregor in for the Euros and World Cup hopes are hanging by a thread