Malta boss names squad but admits chances of achieving a Scottish double are slim



Malta manager Pietro Ghedin admits the country’s hopes of securing a Scottish double are slim.

The Italian was thrilled to see Birkirkara reach the third round of the Europa League following last month’s shock aggregate victory over Hearts, but concedes that international football is a different kettle of fish.

Ghedin has named his 20-man squad for next Wednesday’s friendly in Estonia and the opening Group F World Cup qualifier at home to Scotland on September 4.

maltaSome 17 of those players, including Birkirkara captain Gareth Sciberras, play in the part-time domestic league and former Italy assistant manager Ghedin insists the Europa League result will have no bearing on the clash with Gordon Strachan’s side.

Ghedin, who has called on Barnet midfielder Luke Gambin, Boavista forward Andre Schembri and defender Zach Muscat of Italian outfit Arezzo, said: “These experiences are very important for our players and are very heartening.

“But the national team is another thing. While the clubs’ improvement is beneficial for our players, international football is the highest level.

“In club football, you can use several foreigners but this is not possible at national team level.

“Nevertheless, I have faith in my players and I believe they will do themselves and the country proud.

“At this moment, I only hope that they are good physically as this is the most important thing for them, their clubs and the national team.”