Scotland manager George Burley says his side must beat Norway on Saturday if they are to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa. The Scotland gaffer says that anything other than a victory over Age Hareide's team at Hampden could all but end the nation's quest to make it to their first finals in 12 years.
The Scots have played just two games of their Group 9 qualifying matches so far, losing away to Macedonia before picking up three points against Iceland. However, Burley believes it is make or break for his side already as they prepare to take on the Norwegians in Glasgow.
"It's a big game and a big three points. Norway will probably be thinking if they don't win they'll be going into a match against Holland on Wednesday with just one point so there is a lot of pressure on them," Burley said.
"But if we get only one point there is no doubt it would make it very difficult for us to qualify. If we can get three points it will put us in quite a strong position. It's very important and we are not thinking about anything else but getting a win.
"If we are drawing late in the game we will go for the win - definitely. We have to be patient and play to our strengths. But we will definitely be going for three points and I think Norway will do the same. ."
I'm not even thinking about a draw or a defeat. If we perform to our best we can win
Burley added: "With a five-team group every game is important. There are so few points to play for and that every game is crucial. It's the same for Norway. They drew their first game at home to Iceland and will have been disappointed because they dominated for most of the match but conceded from set-plays. So I think they will come here looking to win. That should make it an open game and that should suit us."
With Barry Ferguson injured and Stephen McManus suspended following his red card against Iceland the captain's armband has been handed to Manchester United's Darren Fletcher. Burley's squad has also been hit by injuries with Rangers striker Kenny Miller and Derby's Kris Commons missing out. The Scots gaffer says he still has not picked his team yet for the crucial clash but hinted at a possible first cap for Wolves striker Chris Iwelumo.
"I'm going to look at it in training as there are one or two positions I am not clear on," Burley said. "Chris Iwelumo gives us an alternative in attack because he's a target man but he's also added goals to his game this season.
"I've known him for a number of years. He's improved and he's mature now but there are other players there all pushing for a place. I know the shape of the team I want and most of the personnel. It's just a little bit of fine tuning that is required now. We also have Kris Boyd who is fit and raring to go. But that's the same as every other player in the squad. It will all come down to who I think is the best man for the job."