Scotland and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan insists national team are in a false position



Barry Bannan insists Scotland are in a false position in World Cup qualifying Group F – but admits they must prove they are better than fifth place.

Gordon Strachan’s side face an uphill struggle to reach the finals in Russia after collecting only four point from four matches.

Slovenia, who are sitting second behind leaders England, are the visitors on Sunday in a game that Strachan has labelled as a must-win.

Successive 3-0 defeats to Slovakia and England have sapped any optimism among the Tartan Army but Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Bannan insists their current group standing is not an accurate reflection of the quality within the squad.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, he said: “I think we’re in a false position by our own standards, I think we’re better than fifth position but the results have determined that that’s where we are at the moment.

“It’s up to us to turn it around and this game against Slovenia is a must-win.

“I think the performances recently have actually been all right, I think we did well against England for a spell but it’s about trying to get the results.

“I think we had more than enough chances against England to warrant the lead and when you are playing against these top teams they will punish you.

“When we get chances we need to take them because they won’t come around all the time.

“It’s time to try and get the results and the performance as well.”

Strachan has called up Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney and Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser for the first time and Bannan, who has 24 caps, insists the emergence of fresh talent keeps everyone on their toes.

Bannan, who could also feature in Wednesday’s friendly against Canada at Easter Road, added: “It is exciting to see other players break through but I still see myself as a kid to be honest, it might be my size.

“It’s brilliant, it’s good to see the young boys coming through. The likes of Kieran Tierney, Andrew Robertson – then there is Ryan Fraser, who is doing really well at Bournemouth.

“Its good to have a look at these players and see how they’re doing and it keeps you on your toes. They give you that lift as well and it should be good for the squad.

“There’s no bigger honour than representing your country.

“It’s been a while since the last game and all the lads are looking forward to joining up and having a go again in the next two games.”