GLASGOW (Reuters) - Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon hopes the confidence his Celtic teammates have from their unbeaten, treble-winning domestic campaign can rub off on the national team when they face England on Saturday.
Along with Gordon, left-back Kieran Tierney, midfielders Stuart Armstrong and Scott Brown, winger James Forrest and striker Leigh Griffiths are all in Gordon Strachan’s squad. They will take on their old rivals at Hampden Park in World Cup qualifying Group F.
Celtic won the Scottish Premiership, the Scottish Cup and the Scottish League Cup and did not lose a single game in doing so.
“We have had as good a season as anyone could ever ask for, so if you are not confident after that you are never going to be,” Gordon told reporters on Friday. “We are confident in ourselves that we can go out there and do ourselves justice and take something from the game.”
Gordon says he sees no reason why the positivity of the Celtic contingent should not transfer to the other members of Strachan’s squad.
“Why not? The Celtic boys are in a good place and we can bring the rest of the squad along with us. We know that we have got threats and that we can carry the game to England when we have got the ball,” said the 34-year-old former Hearts and Sunderland keeper.
“Of course England are going to be favourites, you look at them and they have fantastic attributes right across the team, they have good experience. We just have to go out and impose ourselves a bit more. I don’t think we feel overawed, they are a good team, but while we respect that we want to put a performance on of our own,” he added.
Strachan is also hoping that some of the success of Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic will contribute to his team’s approach.
“They bring that positivity to the squad. It was easy to pick those players, so easy. They’re on this run where they think they are invincible, which is fantastic. They are enjoying every game. Ask any of them if they’re tired just now. Tiredness only seems to creep in when you are getting beat.”
A capacity 52,000 crowd should generate a passionate atmosphere and Gordon said the fixture between the two home nations still had extra spice. “Absolutely, of course there is – there is no bigger international game for us,” he said.
“Whoever plays England wants to beat them and we are probably at the top of that list. We can’t wait to get started – it’s a great opportunity for us to have a go and be the team that is the first to beat them (in a qualifier) for a long time,” he said, referring to England’s eight-year unbeaten streak in qualifying games.
“Playing at Celtic, people have tried to do that to us all season. Now that has changed around, with us having the opportunity to be the team that beats England,” he said.
Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Mark Heinrich