9 October 2014 16:05
Scotland will look to build on their positive Euro 2016 qualifying display against Germany when they host Georgia at Ibrox on Saturday.
Thomas Muller’s second goal of the game consigned Gordon Strachan’s side to defeat in Dortmund last month, but captain Grant Hanley believes there were plenty of positives to take from the 2-1 loss against the world champions.
Georgia are the first opponents in a double-header for Scotland in Group D, with an away clash against Poland to come next Tuesday.
After their defeat against Germany, Blackburn Rovers defender Hanley knows it is important for Strachan’s side to get their first points on the table and the spirit in the squad has led him to believe they can achieve that this weekend.
“We have to start picking up points,” he told a news conference. “It’s our first home game and we must be positive.
“If we play as we did in Germany we won’t be too far away. The ultimate goal is to qualify.
“Competition for places is high and I feel that every time I come here I need to be on top form and prove myself in training.
“It forces everyone to be at their best but it spurs everyone on and there’s a great team spirit.”
Strachan has called exciting youngsters Ryan Gauld and Stevie May into his squad, with teenage winger Gauld impressing since his move to Sporting Lisbon.
His creativity and attacking flair could give Scotland a new plan of attack, while May has shown his eye for goal since moving to Sheffield Wednesday with three goals in his first 10 appearances.
Their last meeting with Georgia came in 2007, when both sides recorded home victories, with Kris Boyd and Craig Beattie securing the win at Hampden Park.
Like their hosts, Georgia also started the qualifying campaign with a 2-1 defeat as they were beaten by the Republic of Ireland in Tblisi.
Head coach Temuri Ketsbaia is making his first return to Scotland since a spell with Dundee during his playing days and he believes Georgia can cause a surprise despite their less-than impressive record.
Aside from two wins earlier this year, against Liechtenstein and Saudi Arabia, Ketsbaia has not seen his side win since September 2012, a run that included an 11-game winless streak.
That does not dampen his positivity, though, and he hopes to come away with at least a point before Georgia travel to Gibraltar.
“You saw Scotland against Germany, where they played very well. They did not deserve to lose the game,” he said. “In our group there is one team who will finish top as Germany are big favourites.
“But the second and third positions are between Ireland, Scotland, Poland and we also have some ambitions.
“We have shown in previous games we can get good results against teams that are better than Scotland.”
Scotland will be without Charlie Mulgrew after the Celtic midfielder was sent off in the Germany defeat.