Morrison relishing Germany test

  • Last Updated: September 2 2014, 13:40 BST

Playing Germany away in their opening 2016 European championship qualifier comes at the worst of times and the best of times for Scotland, according to midfielder James Morrison.

James Morrison: Must prove his fitness
James Morrison: Must prove his fitness

Gordon Strachan's squad assembled at their Mar Hall base on the outskirts of Glasgow at the weekend ahead of the trip to Dortmund for the Group D match against the World Cup winners on Sunday night.

The 28-year-old West Brom player is aware of the task that awaits the Scots but at the same time he is encouraged by the progress made under Gordon Strachan since he took over from Craig Levein in January last year.

The 2-2 friendly draw with Nigeria in London in May stretched Scotland's unbeaten run to six matches and Morrison believes a new epoch of belief means the time could be right for qualification to the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1998.

He said: "It is the worst start that we could probably have had but on the other hand, it is probably the best time to play them, coming off a victory that they probably celebrated for two weeks solid as I think I would.

"I am very excited. It is our best opportunity (to qualify) for as long as I have been involved, certainly.

"We have a good, strong group at the moment and in the past we have done well against big teams.

"With the year that we have had, it is our best opportunity of qualifying, no questions about that, and I think that we are all excited for the challenge ahead.

"Since I was a kid I wanted to play in a major tournament.

"Speaking for the whole squad, that is the aim, that is what the fans and everyone involved with the team aims to do and we are pulling towards that this season."

Morrison admits it would "be lovely" to replicate the goal he scored for England in the challenge match against the Auld Enemy at Wembley last year, albeit in a 3-2 defeat.

However, he accepts that the game in Dortmund will be the biggest in his career.

"We obviously played against Spain a few years ago but against the world champions straight after they have lifted the cup, it is going to be difficult," he said.

"But as players you want to test yourself against the best and we will be playing against the best.

"They are world champions, they have some great players and they showed that in the World Cup

"I like to see the best teams win and I thought they did.

"They have great young players coming through and they won it in the right way.

"So it is a big task but one that the lads are all looking forward to and if we play to our best we will give them a stern test."

First of all, Morrison has to convince Strachan that he is fit enough to start.

The former Middlesbrough player has only made two substitute appearances for the Baggies this season following a knee problem which disrupted his pre-season.

"I wouldn't say I was 100 per cent fit but I have been working extremely hard over the last four weeks to get to a good level and I am ready to play," he said.

"I played in the Nigeria game (May) and the day after my knee was in tatters.

"I had a scan which didn't show anything then I gave it a little bit of a rest.

"That didn't work so I had a little clean-out and that's it.

"I have done loads of running myself, I have done the work necessary in training for three or four weeks, played 60 minutes on Tuesday and 25 on Saturday.

"It is not ideal but I have to deal with it."