EDDIE GRAY is backing under-pressure Scotland coach Gordon Strachan to handle the heat ahead of tonight’s Wembley showdown against England.
The visitors arrive in the capital on the back of an underwhelming start to their World Cup qualifying Group F campaign, with Strachan’s side in fourth place, heaping pressure on the shoulders on the former Leeds captain and Middlesbrough manager.
Leeds legend Gray, capped 12 times by Scotland, said: “It will be a tough game for Scotland, but for England as well and Gareth (Southgate) and Gordon.
“Gordon seems to be under pressure. But with the type of character that he is, I am sure he can handle that and I do not think that it will make any difference to him.
“He will be looking forward to the game as the players will.
“If England lose, they will be under pressure as if you look at the table, there is not much between the teams.”
A prodigiously gifted winger in his day, Gray is keeping his fingers crossed that a player he knows well in Hull City star and former Leeds player Robert Snodgrass can take his place in the Scotland line-up tonight.
Gray firmly believes that a fit and firing Snodgrass will strengthen Strachan’s hand significantly and add something to the visitors’ attacking armoury.
He said: “It will be interesting to see what Gordon does with Robert Snodgrass and whether he starts with him as a fit Snodgrass is a big asset for Scotland.”
“I am looking forward to the game, although I am a bit apprehensive!
“On paper, England look the stronger. But you can never tell in a Scotland versus England game.”
While tonight’s game has lost its lustre in terms of exalted personnel, the stakes riding on it certainly have not, according to Gray – with matters heightened by the game being a World Cup qualifier.
He added: “When you look in the past to people like Bremner, Law, Charlton, Souness, Dalglish and Mackay, the fixture does not look as strong.
“They were names which rolled off the tongue and they are just not there now.
“But it is does not take anything away from the fact that it is a World Cup qualifier and both countries will be desperate to win.”