BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
SLOVENIA talisman Kevin Kampl insists there is no chance he will be cowed by the Hampden roar on Sunday – after silencing Celtic fans on his last visit to Glasgow.
The Bayer Leverkusen star was part of the Red Bull Salzburg side that defeated Ronny Deila’s Hoops on Europa League duty in 2014, with a double from Brazilian forward Alan and a Naby Keita strike sealing a 3-1 win.
Kampl lapped up the atmosphere under the floodlights at Parkhead and fully expects more of the same at the national stadium – and he is determined to emerge victorious against a “desperate” Scotland.
The 26-year-old told RTV Slovenija: “We know the match will be tough and the one thing you can guarantee is that it will be a fantastic atmosphere.
“I have played in Glasgow and won, and it is a phenomenal experience.
“That will be no different this time because Scotland are desperate for points. They will do everything to win.
“However, we have been excellent in qualification so far, we have a whole week to prepare for the fixture and we are in good physical condition.
“We will get chances against Scotland – we need to make sure we exploit them.”
Meanwhile, Scotland have been warned that they must find a way past the man who will soon be considered the best goalkeeper in the world.
Atletico Madrid stopper Jan Oblak will be between the sticks for Slovenia, winning his 13th cap and fresh from making headlines with a stunning Champions League display last week – ironically against Kampl’s Leverkusen – to help the Spaniards into the quarter-finals.
Kampl lauded: “He was just unbelievable in that match. He stopped three chances that were 100 per cent goals!
“He has proved that, even at 23, he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world – and soon he will be number one.”
Kampl is back in the Slovenia set-up for the first time since he was branded a “deserter” by his teammates after pulling out of their fixtures against Slovakia and England last October, citing tiredness.
He stated at the time “I don’t feel good: I am exhausted. I wouldn’t have been able to help Slovenia like this and I stand by my decision”. Slovenia went on to defeat Slovakia 2-0 and draw 0-0 with England.
But he is adamant that is now water under the bridge.
Kampl added: “I feel happy to be back and I have been welcomed by the guys. I have also had a good talk with the coaching staff and everything is fine now.”