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Levein seeks a night to remember in the land of the valleys by Robbie Devine

 
The history of the Scottish national team is littered with matches we wish to remember - 3-2 at Wembley in 67 as Baxter and co toyed with the world champions, 1-0 in Paris when a wee gallus Castlemilk kid called James McFadden had us reaching for the stars and matches we wish to forget- the 1-1 draw in far away Cordoba with the mighty Iran and the woeful loss to Costa Rica at Italia 90.

There are also nights though when events on the park have been overshadowed by those off it, none more so than the fateful September night in 1985 when a vital World Cup qualifier in Cardiff became secondary following the shock of Jock Steins sudden death.

Indeed Scotland clashes with our celtic cousins from Wales have a habit of throwing up extraordinary events which have had a real impact on the fortunes of the international team.

Such as Anfield 1977 when the Welsh FA in their wisdom opted to move their game with Ally McLeods side to Liverpool only to have the misfortune of witnessing a mass invasion of tartan clad hordes descend on Merseyside who cheered on goals by Don Masson and Kenny Dalglish as we headed for Argentina.

Then there was February 2004 and one of the final nails of the coffin of wee Berti Vogts time as Scots gaffer when a Rob Earnshaw inspired Wales romped to a 4-0 win.

And just like his predecessor George Burley was also to experience a night to forget in Cardiff in November 2009 with the Scots on the receiving of a 3-0 whipping which was to prove the final straw for his SFA bosses who sacked him the following day.

And now the pressure is on Craig Levein not to go down the same way and forcing the hand of Stewart Regan and co to pull the trigger on him and ending his tenure as national manager.

His decision to recall on form Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has been greeted with enthusiasm by the bulk of the Tartan Army though there is undoubtedly a fear that it is too late as we could almost certainly have done with his services for the matches against Serbia and Macedonia.
 
 

The two points collected from those games leave us with a uphill struggle of achieving qualification for Brazil 2014 and ending 16 years of frustration at failure for the national team.

But perhaps it may be worth remembering our opponents have had just the 54 years to get by without the pleasure of watching their country participate in the finals of a major finals.

It was also going to be difficult for Chris Coleman to follow in the footsteps of Gary Speed whose tragic death is still keenly felt by all Welsh football fans and with four successive defeats behind him, including a 6-1 thrashing in Serbia, the former Fulham and Coventry boss knows a positive result is a must if he is to win over the home support.

We should expect a typically fast and furious affair as both teams go all out for the victory required should either nation have any realistic hopes of making a dent in the group though

the view from Brussels, Belgrade and Zagreb is probably the match in Cardiff is between two sides seeking the three points to avoid the wooden spoon.

Nevertheless Craig Levein can ill afford to dismiss this game other than what it is - the most important he has undertaken if his stewardship of the side is to continue and it can only be hoped he breaks with habit and sends out a team with a real attacking edge to it.

Surely Fletcher will surely start and as a win is simply a must it would be surprising if Levein opted to play him up front on his own so I expect Kenny Miller to partner the ex Hibs striker with Charlie Adam, Scott Brown, Darren Fletcher and James Morrison patrolling the midfield whilst Charlie Mulgrew, Christophe Berra, Gary Caldwell and Alan Hutton will have the task of keeping Gareth Bale and co quiet and defending Alan McGregor’s goal.

Confidence is already low amongst the Tartan Army with Levein yet to win over a large bulk of the written media but I hope that the man from Dunfermline will leave the land of the valleys with a smile on his face and our dreams of reaching Rio will be back on track.

If not then I fear he will find just like messrs Vogts and Burley that Wales will have become a graveyard for his time as Scotland boss.

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