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Czech Republic v Scotland: Anya urges new boys to seize their chance

Scotland international Ikechi Anya has urged Scott Bain, Kenny McLean, Kevin McDonald and Tony Watt to grab their chance when they take on the Czech Republic on Thursday.

Bain, McLean, McDonald and Watt are all in line to make their Scotland debuts in Prague as Gordon Strachan's men kick-off preparations for their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign after missing out on Euro 2016. 

Anya won his first cap in September 2013 as a relative unknown, only to go on to become a regular for Scotland, and he hopes the quartet of new faces can make a similar impact on the national team.

"This is a brilliant opportunity for the new lads to come in," Anya told Daily Record. "I am sure the new boys will be excited. It is always a great privilege to be called up to potentially get your first cap. 

"I think it is a great scenario for them. There are no points at stake obviously and the gaffer is quite open about how he wants to see new players and so they should be full of energy and really enjoy it and why not? They deserve to be here.

"I am not going to dwell on the fact we didn't qualify for the Euros, it is one of those things. We are two years wiser and the experience is going to stand us in good stead. We have youth and experience, it is vitally important that we believe we can qualify."

Scotland are unbeaten in the opening fixture of the calendar year in this decade, with the last defeat occurring in 2009 away to Netherlands.

Since then, Scotland have won five and drawn only one of their first matches of the year.

The Czech Republic, meanwhile, did qualify for Euro 2016 and will be hoping to start their preparations for the tournament on a high after a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Poland in their most recent game back in November.

Head coach Pavel Vrba has also included a number of fresh faces in his squad for the game against Scotland, with Ales Hruska, Tomas Koubek and Jakub Rad all hoping to make their debut either against the Scots or versus Sweden five days later.

High-profile names such as Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky miss out due to injury, while veteran midfielder Jaroslav Plasil has also been left out.

Both sides last met in September 2011, when they played out a 2-2 draw in Glasgow.