Hammell earns 'payback'

  • Last Updated: June 4 2013, 8:22 BST

Scotland coach Stuart McCall believes Steven Hammell has been rewarded for a fine club career after being drafted into the squad for Friday's World Cup qualifier against Croatia.

Steven Hammell: Picked up his only cap so far nine years ago

The Motherwell full-back is one of two reinforcements, along with Aston Villa's Barry Bannan, after six players were forced to withdraw ahead of the World Cup qualifier in Zagreb.

If given the nod, this weekend's match will see the 31-year-old earn only his second cap nine years after making his international debut.

Well boss McCall said: "Steven has been a terrific professional in his time and he's had another consistent, good season so he has merited it.

"The pleasing thing is that he's fitted in really well.

"I'm delighted for him and his family. It's a little bit of payback for all the effort he's put into his career."

Hammell is one of a number of players with limited international experience in a group which has been hit with the loss of Scott Brown, James Forrest, Lee Wallace, Danny Fox, Gary Caldwell and Liam Bridcutt.

But McCall believes those selected on the night should approach the match without any fear and make the most of the opportunity.

He said: "Prior to coming here, I thought to myself what our mindset will be when we meet up.

"Is it a case of let's go and play some good football and give the young boys a go and it doesn't really matter what the score is as long as they get good experience?

"Obviously you want to win every game you go into but is it damage limitation?

"Or is it just go and be the best you can be and maybe not prove people wrong but surprise people?

Steven Hammell

3. Steven Hammell

Title Number
Appearances 14 (1)
Goals 0
Assists 3
Yellows 1
Reds 0
*Current Season

"I'm sure the majority of people across the world and even in Scotland are looking upon this as a really difficult tie, which we know it is.

"But I think the mindset is just to go out and be the best you can be and grab the opportunity.

"If you're making your debut, grab your opportunity. If you've had a few caps, help the people who are coming in.

"Just try to put a positive spin on it.

"We know we've not got all of this experience to count upon but sometimes young lads have got to step up and have no fear."

Scotland sit bottom of group A, with two points and their qualification hopes already over, while Croatia are joint top with Belgium.

Striker Ivica Olic has been quoted as saying the Croatians are aiming for three goals against Scotland to boost their goal difference, while former boss Miroslav Blazevic believes the home side will put five past Gordon Strachan's men.

Asked about the remarks, McCall said: "We can't affect what other countries who are coming up against us are saying or doing.

"To be fair to Croatia, they've not only spoken a good game, they've played a good game if you look at the league table.

"We need to concentrate on what we do on the park and leave the talking to other teams.

"It would be a bit disrespectful if that is the case but we've just got to focus on ourselves and go there and try to be difficult.

"Because we've got a little bit of an inexperienced squad, we've got to use all of our energy and focus on what we are about and what we are going to do to get the best out of the group that we send onto the park."

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