Former Scotland assistant Peter Houston reckons friendlies will not end in embarrassment like USA thrashing

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Former Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston reckons the youngsters in Gordon Strachan’s squad will ensure that the close-season friendlies against Italy and France do not end in embarrassment.

Falkirk manager Houston was part of Craig Levein’s backroom team when Scotland were beaten 5-1 by America in a non-competitive clash in summer 2012.

Current Scotland number two Mark McGhee has already warned the squad that they will be ruthlessly punished if they go into the forthcoming games in holiday mode.

peterhoustonBut with the likes of John McGinn, Barrie McKay and Stephen Kingsley all included, Houston reckons they will be desperate to make an impression ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

He said: “Scotland are doing the other teams a favour by giving them fixtures because they have the Euro Championships to look forward to.

“Mark is right in what he is saying. You want to be at it because you don’t want to be embarrassed and that American game wasn’t a great result for us.

“We had an experienced team out there, there wasn’t a lot of young players.

“But it is younger players that Gordon and Mark have got this time and the chance to be a Scotland squad player will lift those players.

“One thing I’ll never do is criticise the boys who were with us that day or on that trip. It happened, I know it happened.

“But with the freshness in the squad and the changes in the squad, players are getting an opportunity and when that happens, sometimes you go at it a bit harder to try and stay in there.

“It happened with Andy Robertson when Gordon first went in, he just trained with them and did enough to keep himself involved.

“So guys like Kingsley and others who are going to get that opportunity might be that little bit more motivated to show the manager they are good enough to be playing at that level.

“Whereas it might be a little bit more difficult to motivate more experienced players, and we have said that during the season as well when there is nothing to play for.

“You saw that with Rangers losing to a few teams towards the end of the season. Why? Because the motivation they had to win the league wasn’t there anymore.

“Sometimes that can happen whether it is international players or club players or whoever.”

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