Scottish Premier League

Strachan expects Euro super league

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Wed, 10 Apr 2013 19:56:00

Tottenham will be without star man Gareth Bale for Thursday's Europa League game against Basel due to an ankle injury.

Aaron Lennon (knee), William Gallas (calf), and Jermain Defoe (pelvis) have not travelled with the squad but Tottenham expect all three, and midfielder Bale, to be back for the game against Manchester City a week on Sunday.

Midfielder Sandro is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, while centre-back Younes Kaboul (also knee) is around 10 to 15 days away from full fitness.

Former Liverpool right-back Philipp Degen missed the first leg through injury but coach Murat Yakin confirmed he will start on Thursday.

Cabral and Park Joo-ho are also available while Marco Streller has overcome a knock and is able to feature.

"We are happy to be in the quarter-finals and to have achieved a good result in the first leg," coach Yakin said.

"We are well prepared, the team showed last week that we can keep up with top teams and the top English teams. We are very confident about the game and we will see what happens."

Tottenham (from): Lloris, Friedel, Walker, Naughton, Dawson, Caulker, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto, Holtby, Livermore, Dembele, Carroll, Parker, Ceballos, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Adebayor, Coulthirst.

Strachan, who also said he does not currently have the players of the necessary "intelligence or physique" to fulfil his vision, is convinced the day when Celtic and Rangers break away from Scottish domestic football is not too distant.

But he does not see the Old Firm moving south to England to join the Premier League.

He told the Soccerex conference in Manchester: "I don't think they will move to the English Premier League. I think there will be two European leagues in 10 years' time or so and then Celtic and Rangers will be in it. That's the way I think it will go.

"It's not the SFA's opinion, it's my opinion - I think 38 (European) clubs will break away and make two divisions and the owners will do everything they can to get the sponsorship and TV money there.

"That's the way I think Celtic and Rangers will eventually go, and we have to make sure Scottish football is in a healthy position before we get to that point."

Strachan says his ambition is to produce Scottish football heroes again but admitted that the quality is not there yet.

He added: "I took this job because I want to do something to put something back. It's not a platform to do something else.

"I've been lucky and it's time to put something back, I'm trying to give heroes back to the Scottish people as there were when I was growing up. We don't have too many now.

"I want to bring through two or three young men who can be heroes in the future.

"We are getting better and even if it puts in a platform for someone to take over in years to come that would be great."

Strachan said he was prepared to take criticism to get his vision secured.

He said: "To get it right I may have to get a few slaps from the public or press and I have a vision of how I want to play but at the moment we don't have players with the intelligence or physique to do that. I'm hoping in the next four or five years we can get two or three."

Strachan said the Scotland job was "part-time in terms of hours but full-time in terms of stress" but that being manager of Celtic had prepared him for anything.

"My nerve endings have gone - once you are Celtic manager for four years you can do anything and even be Prime Minister after that job," he added.

Strachan will take his Scotland side to Wembley in August to face England as part of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations and as someone who has previously spoken of being part of the infamous 1977 pitch invasion - after Scotland won 2-1 - he is relishing the prospect.

He said: "We have the players and the drive to be able to win so it's going to be a good game. All the players will be fresh - I played those games at the end of the season when it was exciting but it was a slog.

"We will be down with painted blue faces, kilts and everything.

"I had my honeymoon there in 1977 - I was there on the pitch and so was my wife.

"My best man and my wife were standing in the bar area when everyone was on the pitch and I thought I had better not join them as I was a professional footballer. But a policeman saw us and said 'what are you waiting for'.

"So we ended up on the pitch with the tartan scarves and a few years I later ended up playing there.

"I just wish it was every year, for charity or whatever, as I've no doubt every player, English of Scottish would want it. I played against Bryan Robson and Ray Wilkins and they loved it trying to put Scotland in our place."

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said discussions about a possible re-match in Glasgow were taking place.

He said: "It's great that we have the opportunity to play this series of 'rivals matches' and England v Scotland is one of the biggest and the best.

"It's (a re-match) is part of ongoing discussions with the FA and I would like to think it could happen."

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