Russell hails strength in depth

  • Last Updated: September 10 2012, 7:52 BST

Scotland Under-21 striker Johnny Russell is confident they can adapt following the loss of another key player for their final European qualifier against Austria.

Johnny Russell: 'Great squad'

Hibernian striker Leigh Griffiths dropped out through injury at the weekend after scoring in the 3-0 victory over Luxembourg.

Billy Stark has seen the make-up of his front three change dramatically since the campaign started with a goalless draw against Bulgaria a year ago.

The performances of Jordan Rhodes, who hit eight goals in eight games, and Celtic winger James Forrest saw them promoted to the senior squad and both came off the bench in Saturday's goalless draw against Serbia.

Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven stepped in midway through the campaign but he misses Monday night's clash in Altach following knee surgery.

However, Celtic striker Tony Watt also scored against Luxembourg after coming off the bench and Russell, who has been a regular feature in Stark's teams, believes they can continue to improvise.

"It's great credit to the lads that the boys that we have lost, the other boys can step in," the Dundee United player said.

"We've got a great squad with great players. We always knew it was going to be difficult and players were going to miss out.

"It's credit to everyone that has stepped in, they have been brilliant."

Scotland are assured of second place in Group 10 behind Holland but only the four best runners-up will join the 10 group winners in the play-offs to join hosts Israel in the finals.

The Scots are unbeaten and defeated Holland on their own turf, but they have drawn four games and need a win to have a realistic chance of progressing. Even that might not be enough.

Scotland have 13 points and victory would definitely put them ahead of two other runners-up - Turkey, whose campaign has finished, and Slovakia.

Bosnia, who are at home to Germany, also have 13 points from relevant games, along with Denmark, who are at home to Northern Ireland, and both Ukraine and Sweden, who play each other.

But Scotland need at least one of four teams currently with more points than them to slip up: Norway, who play England away, have 16 points; Armenia, who have 14 points, are away to Montenegro; Portugal have 14 points and are away to Poland; and Switzerland are in a strong position on 14 points with Estonia at home to play.