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Sunday 17 December 2017

Moravcik: 'Celtic's Euro exploits good for Scotland'

Former Celtic midfielder Lubomir Moravcik. Photo: PA
Former Celtic midfielder Lubomir Moravcik. Photo: PA

Former midfielder Lubomir Moravcik thinks Celtic’s exposure to Champions League football has played a big part in Scotland’s revival.

Gordon Strachan’s side have made marked improvements over the past 12 months and are now two games away from a possible World Cup qualifying play-off.

Should they beat Slovakia and Slovenia in the coming week, Scotland will finish second in Group F and could seal a spot at the finals in Russia next year, despite a disastrous start to the campaign.

Moravcik, a favourite with fans during his four years at Celtic, has put that improvement down to the development and experiences of his former side in European competition, which has since been transferred to the international stage.

“Every game in the Champions League gives you more experience and more confidence,” he said at Hampden Park.

“They beat a team away from home and have good form, a good mood and can bring the positive atmosphere to the national team, and that was an important win for Celtic and that will help the national team.” He went on to suggest that the team spirit cultivated at Celtic Park under Brendan Rodgers has played a major role in the revitalisation of the national side, with the Celtic players forming a key core to the Scotland squad and bringing their winning mentality into the camp.

The former Slovakian international said: “The Scottish team has depended on Celtic and Rangers in the past.

“If Celtic play well and Rangers - in the past - play well, the national team has more options for players.

“But Celtic is important now because the players play together every week, which helps the relationships and that helps everything for Gordon, who can build his team around the Celtic players with the guys from England in there too.”

Callum McGregor is one player in particular who has caught the eye of the former playmaker.

McGregor finally received the call from Strachan to join the Scotland squad after a series of fine performances, and Moravcik backed the midfielder to make an impression this week.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. Photo: REUTERS
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan. Photo: REUTERS

“He is a good guy, good technically with the left-foot,” he said. “Maybe he will start, I don’t know.

“Maybe that is a question for Gordon! Why not?

“(Stuart) Armstrong is out, McGregor plays that position for Celtic so why not the same position for the national team? Maybe it is an option,” he added.

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