Scotland manager George Burley has fitness doubts over midfielders Kevin Thomson and Kris Commons ahead of his side's crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ group nine qualifier against Norway on Saturday.

Thomson was carried off with an ankle injury in Rangers' 1-0 defeat to St Mirren on Sunday, while Derby star Commons has been sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring strain.

Burley, who has been plagued by injuries since taking over as Scotland boss, will assess both players at the team's training base ahead of the clash. "We will see tonight when all the squad reports," said assistant manager Terry Butcher. "Kris Commons hasn't played for a couple of weeks and Kevin Thomson got a really sore one yesterday at St Mirren so we will see what the doctors and physios say tonight.

"We will look at all the other players as well and I'm sure there will be one or two little knocks and niggles," he added. "But, at this moment in time, there are only one or two who could be a doubt which is remarkable for Scotland because there are normally eight or nine at least."

Netherlands sit top of group nine with three points thanks to superior goals difference despite playing only one match so far.

Scotland, in second, and Macedonia, third, also have three points but have played two games. Norway, after one game, are fourth with a point while Iceland have a point from their draw and defeat so far.

Butcher is convinced Scotland can reach the finals in South Africa if they play with a positive attiude. "Our toughest opposition is ourselves because, if we're not in the right frame of mind for any match, then we can struggle," he said. "Lessons have been learned from Macedonia, particularly in the first half, and they were learned in Iceland as well.

"It's a home match and we want to win our home games. We want to give it all that we can on Saturday.

"Norway should have beaten Iceland when they drew 2-2, they had plenty of opportunities, dominated possession and Iceland didn't have many attacks on goal and yet scored two goals.

"So there is hope for us but they are a good side. They are a big, strong side. But it's up to ourselves and how we approach the game," he went on.  "If we really want to win on Saturday, then I think we can do. We all know what we can do but it's about having the bravery and the bottle to go out on that pitch and do it."

Macedonia critics
Burley was criticised after the Macedonia defeat and, although Scotland bounced back against Iceland, he will under pressure again if they slip up this weekend at a sold-out Hampden Park.

Butcher hopes Scotland's players will rise to the occasion rather than let Norway pray on their frailties.

"It's about confidence. We are still at an early stage but the players have played a double-header, they know what it's all about, and hopefully after Saturday we will be in a good, strong position," he said.

"It's up to the staff and the players, in the few days that we have together, to make sure we are mentally right for the game and make sure we approach it properly.

"The players will be physically fit, that's not a problem. Mentally, it's about 'This is our kingdom, this is our place, and teams should come here and fear us' - hopefully they will do on Saturday."