Date: 22nd March 2007 at 9:26pm
Written by:

Russell Anderson is resigning himself to place on the bench as he expects the new boss to carry on in the same vein as Walter Smith and that means sticking by the old guard who have so far served us so well.

Russell, despite an excellent season so far besides Saturday`s Rangers match, agrees that Weir, Pressley and Dailly should all be ahead of him as it`s those guys who have Scotland sitting top of the hardest group imaginable after 4 matches, albeit on goal difference.

The Aberdeen captain said ‘It’s completely understandable. Things have gone well in recent months and are ticking over nicely, so I can see why he doesn’t want to change much. I am sure Alex will have his own thoughts about tactics and systems but, in terms of the squad, he has tried not to make major alterations.

‘That probably doesn’t bode too well for me because he is likely to stick closely to the team Walter used. It is frustrating, but I appreciate the position the players who have been getting used have got themselves into.

‘I can’t really have any complaints that I am more likely to be on the bench because those who are in the side have played well to get there.

‘They have also done very well to get Scotland into the position we are in our group and I just have to keep hanging on.’

Russell is ready and waiting for his chance and he knows that Saturday`s match is a must win if previous history is to teach us anything.



ussell made his analysis on what it will take to get us to Austria and Switzerland for Euro 2008 and admits that ‘It is crucial we do well in our home games because that is what let us down in the World Cup matches last time around.

‘We dropped too many points at Hampden early on and that made it very difficult to come back into contention.

‘We lost to Norway and Belarus and drew with Slovenia in Glasgow, but if you added the points we lost in those fixtures to our total, our situation would have looked more rosy.

‘Although we faltered in only a couple of games at the start, that is all you need to give yourselves an uphill task.

‘The damage was already done by the time we started getting good results and that makes it vital we keep things going.’

Whilst Russell will be more than likely confined to the bench for the Georgia and Italy matches, his excellent form has not gone unnoticed by the new coaching team

McLeish`s assistant Andy Watson, another ex-Don spoke of “Cadger” in glowing terms when he gave his view on the 6`1″ defender.

‘Russell has proved himself on a consistent basis at Aberdeen this season,’ said Watson.

‘We’ve got a number of options in the central defensive position so it’s not clear who we will pick.

‘Stephen McManus is another contender for a jersey as has enjoyed a fantastic season in a Celtic team that has played in a lot of big games.’

Whoever plays in defence will have to deal with the very well known and very real threat of McLeish`s ex-player Shota Arveladze who knows one thing in football; how to score goals, a fact Watson is more than aware of having coached the player for 4 seasons during his time at Ibrox.

He added: ‘Shota has been very impressive for AZ Alkmaar and produced the goods against Newcastle in the UEFA Cup.

‘There’s no doubting his quality and whenever I have watched him he has looked really sharp.

‘But we’re more interested in causing Georgia problems and if we can force them on to the back foot it could nullify their strengths.

‘However, that doesn’t mean we can’t ignore someone of Shota’s quality but we want to do some damage in the game.

‘It’s going to be a fantastic occasion playing in front of a full house so the crowd will want us to attack as well.

‘Georgia are a very good side and I watched them against Turkey in a friendly match which they won 1-0 so it’s going to be tough.’