Watching Scotland on Saturday brought back good memories for me as once again James McFadden shone in the dark blue. Unbelievably there are still some who say he should not be playing as he is argumentative, greedy and does not work hard enough.
Well, I say shut-up Gerry McNee as he is easily our most creative player and has a goals to game ratio that either Kenny Dalgleish or Ally McCoist would be proud of (10 in 28).
McFadden's direct running, intelligent passing and mazy dribbles were a joy to watch all afternoon and although it was against poor opposition it was still great to see the former claret and amber hero doing so well. His goal was also the pick of the bunch, and with two assists, he was definitely the man of the match.
However, I would still say he is not guaranteed to start against Lithuania on Wednesday night. Walter Smith has made it quite clear that Kenny Miller is his first choice forward, and with a double on Saturday he is unlikely to drop Kris Boyd. This leaves Faddy either dropping into midfield or dropping out altogether, with Smith likely to pick a harder working midfielder. This would be a mistake in my eyes, as three points would mean a great start to the group and to take three points we need our best players on the park. I think almost the whole country thinks McFadden should play just off Boyd in attack, with the out-of-form Miller on the bench, but this will not happen as Smith is rewarding Miller for his fine international form towards the end of the last qualifying campaign.
Lithuania have shown that they are no mugs with a fine draw in Italy but we still have the players that can beat them comfortably if we play to our potential. I think it is no coincidence that the midfield looks better without Barry Ferguson, as Fletcher, Hartley and Quashie all performed well on Saturday. Ferguson looks half the player he used to be before his move to Blackburn, and I only hope that Smith is a big enough man to drop him if we are still playing well when he recovers from injury. He may be the Scotland captain, but he has rarely had a good game for the national team.
We got our tactics spot on against the Faroe's, with the three pronged attack looking great. Lets just hope that Smith is not scared to play this way against the other so-called better teams in the group as to have any chance of challenging for qualification we need goals and we need James McFadden!!!
Wednesday night prediction, Lithuania 0 Scotland 2, France 1 Italy 1.