Scots facing a massive task

Wigan's Shaun Maloney
Wigan's Shaun Maloney

SHAUN Maloney admits Scotland have it all to do to qualify for the first major competition in 14 years.

But the Wigan star will be going all-out to ensure the Tartan Army take their place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Scotland face back-to-back home games against Serbia (on Saturday) and Macedonia (Tuesday).

And Maloney admits there will be no margin whatsoever for error in a group that also contains Belgium, Wales and Croatia.

“It’s going to be very tough,” Maloney said.

“Belgium are definitely the up and coming team and the majority of the squad play in the Premier League or the other top leagues around the world.

“Croatia and Serbia are the same, and then you’ve got ourselves, Wales and Macedonia who are certainly no mugs either.

“There are going to be teams taking points off each other, and the home games are probably going to be vital.

“We just need to be as positive as we can, like we were towards the end of the Euros qualifying campaign, and we’ll see where it takes us.”

The former Celtic man also recognises a home double-header does represent the perfect chance to get off to a flying start.

“We’d love to get off the mark with two wins, it’s always nice to get off to a good start so you’re not playing catch-up,” he added.

“And we’ll be looking for at least four points from six to get us up and running.

“It’s great we’ve got two home games to start with.

“The fans have always been great with us and I’m sure they’ll get behind us every way they can.”

Maloney is relishing being back in the Scotland reckoning after his magnificent form for Wigan in the second half of last term led to a recall.

“I hadn’t played for Scotland for a while because of injuries and my form not being so good,” the wide-man admitted.

“But at the end of last season I thought my form was more reasonable.

“I was always hopeful that would lead to an international recall.

“Getting back in the Scotland set-up was certainly a massively motivating factor for me coming down to Wigan Athletic.

“I do enjoy playing for my country, and fingers crossed I can put a few games together.”