They’re hardly a superpower in international football, but Kazakhstan have to be taken just as seriously.
That’s the message coming from Scotland coach James McFadden, who is already out with the squad after making the six-hour flight from Glasgow to Astana late on Sunday night.
Scotland are looking to get their Euro 2020 qualification campaign off to a flier with results against both Kazakhstan and San Marino this week.
Faddy is making sure that, despite the standing of both teams, the team he coaches with gaffer Alex McLeish are anything but complacent.
He said: “We should be beating Kazakhstan. But we should not be expecting just to turn up and beat them. We have to play at our best.
“We cannot play any team, and I include San Marino in that, and expect to win. We have to be at our best, that’s always been the case.
“If we have got aspirations of qualifying we have to be at our best, or as close to our best as possible.
“We cannot approach it and say, ‘Aye Kazakhstan, we should be beating them.
“In our minds we should beat them. But they won’t just give it to us. They won’t say, ‘Scotland have some good players’, and just let us beat them and give us the points. We need to turn up.
“I have been there before, going to places where you should win and don’t and it’s a horrible feeling.
“If you play against a team and you give your best and you are not expected to win, at least you have tried your best.
“But if you play a team and don’t perform when you know you should win, it is a horrible feeling.
“We need to make sure we are up for it. I’ve not seen anything from the players to suggest they aren’t.
“We have had the scare of losing away in Israel and coming back with that feeling. We don’t want that again. That has to be the warning.
“Kazakhstan are a banana skin because it is international football, and as we have seen in the last 20 years or so, there are no easy games, certainly for us.
“If we approach it in the right manner and play at our best, I am confident we have enough, but we cannot take them lightly.
“They have a new manager and will probably change their shape to what they’ve been doing previously.
“But we are aware of that. We have watched them and feel that we have enough to counter that and cause them more problems than they cause us.”
With captain Andy Robertson a doubt, McLeish and Mcfaden also know they can’t call on Ryan Fraser and Callum Paterson, who can’t play on the artificial surface in the Astana Arena.
McFadden said: “There’s one or two who still need to be assessed.
“Some of them, we won’t know until they train. That’s normal after the weekend.
“With Scott McKenna, we’re hopeful.
“Every player who is here will be assessed and we will make a decision on whether they are fit to play.
“Unless a club or an insurance company comes and says, ‘You can’t play these players on that pitch’, they are here to play. We won’t hesitate in using them.
“I understand if they come and they have knocks. It is much the same as normal.
“I’m not a fan of astro. I don’t like it and don’t think international football should be played on it, but we have to deal with it.”
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