Naismith out to maintain momentum

  • Last Updated: March 5 2014, 15:27 GMT

Steven Naismith is more concerned with continuing Gordon Strachan's positive transformation of Scotland than laying down a Euro 2016 marker when they face Poland.

Naismith: Not looking ahead to Euro 2016 clashes
Naismith: Not looking ahead to Euro 2016 clashes

Scotland and Poland get a close-up look at each other ahead of their European Championship qualifier in October during a friendly in Warsaw's National Stadium on Wednesday night.

Naismith does not believe the dress rehearsal will have a significant impact on the competitive encounter other than to give himself and his team-mates a flavour of the local surroundings.

And he just wants to continue the progress that saw Scotland secure three victories from their final four World Cup qualifiers, two of them against Croatia.

"You want to win every game and it doesn't make any difference because Poland are in our group," the Everton forward said.

"Over the last year we have had a project that has gained momentum. We are much further forward than I'm sure the manager thought we would be.

"So this would be another good victory for us. Even though it's a quick trip, the manager has a few ideas he wants to get across to us and that's what we will be working on tomorrow night."

Strachan celebrated his first anniversary in the job earlier this year and Naismith feels the turnaround in fortunes has been based on a more forward-thinking approach than the attitude instilled by previous manager Craig Levein.

"The one thing I would say has been key is going forward with more freedom to express ourselves, and maybe try more forward passes and make other teams defend basically," the former Rangers and Kilmarnock player said.

"A lot of times before we sat in in games, thinking more about defence and stopping the other team, whereas now we are going at teams, we are putting them under pressure.

"The two results against Croatia are prime examples. They are a quality, quality side with players that can hurt us but we went out, and defended really well, but we gave as good as we got going forward, and it showed in the results that we got."

That increased confidence extends to Scotland's upcoming attempts to make France 2016.

"I am confident we can qualify," Naismith said. "I'm sure Germany, Poland and Ireland think they have a good chance as well but even Georgia will think they have a good chance to compete in the games.

"It's probably one of the toughest groups and I don't think anybody would put any money on any team to be guaranteed to qualify except Germany.

"We will all be confident. The home form in any campaign is important and the last campaign, it wasn't great.

"This time round we want to rectify that and make sure we start the campaign the way we finished the last one."


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