BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
SLOVENIA star Miha Mevlja insists there is no way he will be fazed by facing Scotland after going toe-to-toe with a furious Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The 26-year-old has enjoyed a sensational season with Russian underdogs Rostov, turning out against the likes of Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the Champions League before clashing with Manchester United in the Europa League.
Those glamour fixtures have seen him square up to some of the most potent strikers in the world, but Mevlja admits his pals only want to hear about his attempts to shackle the Swedish icon.
Rostov ultimately bowed out 2-1 on aggregate at Old Trafford after an admirable showing over two legs, and the former Lausanne and Dinamo Bucharest stopper is adamant he learned plenty of lessons that he can put into practice in Glasgow.
Mevlja told Dnevnik.hr: “The Russian league is a very high level and this season has also given me the chance to play in the Champions League, which was a massive lure.
“I have competed with Robert Lewandowski and Fernando Torres then, in the Europa League, I was against Zlatan Ibrahimovic. These players are outstanding and you learn so much.
“From head to toe, they are magnificent professionals and come alive in big matches. That is the test you want.
“When the game starts you try to forget who you are playing, you are focused on your role in the team and winning. But when you look back, it is a remarkable experience to play in matches against guys like Ibrahimovic.
“Even now, my friends are all asking me ‘what was it like to play against Zlatan? What tricks does he use? What does he say?’ In truth, he was more angry with his own teammates than he was with me! He had plenty of words with them, but not too many with me.”
With Mevlja in the form of his life, he is hoping to add to his four caps at Hampden on Sunday night, with Slovenia – unbeaten in Group F – seeking to take another stride towards the 2018 World Cup.
In doing so, they are out to effectively end Scotland’s dream of reaching a major finals for the first time since 1998.
Mevlja added: “We expect a tough match, but we will not be intimidated. I believe we have enough quality to reach the World Cup.
“A victory is the objective, but a draw would not be so bad – the key is to keep our rivals at a safe distance behind us.”