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Callum Davidson backs Scotland players to rise to the occasion in play-off bid

St Johnstone v Rangers – cinch Premiership – McDiarmid Park
(Image credit: Ian Rutherford)

Callum Davidson believes the Scotland players will embrace the expectation of a nation as they bid to seal a World Cup play-off place by winning in Moldova next month.

Steve Clarke’s team are four points ahead of Israel with two games to play in the battle to finish second in Group F.

A victory in Chisinau on 12 November will take the Scots into a play-off, which would represent the closest they have come to reaching a World Cup since they qualified for France 98.

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St Johnstone manager Davidson made his Scotland debut later on in 1998, and the former left-back won 19 caps over the course of 11 years involved with the national team.

Having failed to get to a major tournament himself, he is well aware of the magnitude of the opportunity the current crop – who also made it to Euro 2020 – have of featuring in back-to-back finals if they can hold their nerve away to the bottom-placed team in the group.

Davidson said: “It’s up to us now against Moldova. The whole nation will be backing the team but I think it’s a good pressure that will be on the players. You play with pressure if you’re at the bottom of the league or at the top of the league but I always say the best type of pressure to play under is always when you’re trying to win something or qualify for something.

“I call it good pressure. It’s different when you’re playing to save someone’s job or that type of thing. But I think this is a good pressure for Scotland and the players will really enjoy it.”

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Davidson praised Scotland for the way they have got themselves into pole position for a play-off berth since bouncing back from their 2-0 defeat in Denmark early last month.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the way Scotland are going at the moment. Four victories out of four – the big one out of those was winning in Austria.

“I was at the game against Israel on Saturday and it was fantastic. We probably got what we deserved. The backing of the fans was immense. You can’t underestimate that. The players will feel that was a special night for them.

“Against the Faroes we probably got a bit of luck again (to win 1-0). It can be really hard sometimes to come off the back of big games and we probably didn’t play as well as we’d have liked but we’re in a great position.”