Scotland can still dream of making it to 2018 World Cup in Russia after England draw, insists John Collins



JOHN COLLINS insists Scotland can still dream of making it to Russia next year after Saturday’s heroic but gut-wrenching draw against England.

After allowing a 2-1 lead to slip to Harry Kane’s injury-time equaliser in a remarkable clash at Hampden, the Scots are still fourth in Group F with just four games to go in their World Cup qualifiers.

However, with fifth-placed Lithuania and winless whipping boys Malta to face in the next two games, hope remains of a late charge to clinch second place.

To do that, Collins admits Gordon Strachan’s side are likely to have to win three and draw one as they also eye up a home clash with Slovakia and a last-game trip to Slovenia.

But the former Celtic, Hibs and Monaco midfielder, who memorably scored against Brazil the last time Scotland made it to a World Cup in 1998, believes that is well within their capabilities.

He said: “I think a draw was a good result for us.

“We would have loved to have won, but it keeps us in the group.

“We’ve now got to win the next game, definitely, away to Lithuania. Slovakia and Slovenia play each other, so hopefully they’ll take points off each other; a draw would be good for us in that one.

“And if we can do that then we get closer and we’ve still got them both to play.

“We probably have to win three out of the four and get a draw, which I think we’re capable of, because I think we’ve got as good a team, if not better, than Slovakia and Slovenia.”


Collins reckons Strachan marshalled Scotland well for the visit of the Auld Enemy but, ultimately, was left feeling gutted for the manager – and for two-goal hero Leigh Griffiths.

He added to ITV: “I thought we played well for spells in both halves, for the first 20 minutes and then England took control of the game.

“But we dug in and we were organised, as we always are under Gordon, and we’ve always got great discipline, effort and commitment.

“England were everybody’s favourites, they’ve got players playing at big clubs in the Premiership, and Scotland don’t have that.

“What a finale! The final six minutes was absolutely incredible and I really feel for Gordon and the players, and probably especially for Leigh Griffiths.

“To be 2-1 up in the 90th minutes, we were thinking ‘great three points, we’re back in the group’ and then, bang, Harry Kane gets a late equaliser.”