FORMER Celtic skipper Paul Lambert thinks Gordon Strachan can still turn around Scotland’s faltering World Cup campaign.
And the former Norwich City, Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers boss scoffed at suggestions he was the bookies’ favourite to take over the international job.
Lambert, capped 40 times, insists a win over England at Wembley next month is required to get the bid for Russia 2018 back on track.
Injury forced the ex-midfielder to miss the Scots’ 1-0 win over their oldest rivals in London in November 1999 when Don Hutchison was the matchwinner. It wasn’t enough, though, to help Craig Brown’s team to qualify for Euro 2000 after losing the first leg of the play-off 2-0 at Hampden.
Lambert said: “Listen, anything can happen in one game. You can go to Wembley and get a good result – and if you were to come away from there with all three points then all of a sudden it is right back on.
“There is grumbling about the fact that Gordon hasn’t picked this one or that one, but all I can say is that as soon as that squad is announced for the game next month against England that you will have everyone wanting to play.
“People will be fighting for tickets, there will be massive interest in the game and it is one of those ones that everyone wants to be a part of.
“Everyone wants the chance to go there and be part of a Scotland side that creates a wee bit of history against their oldest rivals.
“It is doom and gloom just now, but the whole atmosphere will be lifted ahead of that game. You need people to stay together. You need to stay strong and I don’t think there will be any doubt that this is a game that takes care of itself.
“You won’t have to go in there and lift anyone for it – the whole country will have all eyes on it.
“I am like anyone else – my only thought is on seeing Scotland do well. I’ll be rooting as loudly as anyone for them to get the result that would set them back on a strong path.”
Lambert, who has been without a club since leaving Ewood Park last season, has been touted as Strachan’s replacement after the drab displays in the 1-1 draw with Lithuania and the 3-0 drubbing in Slovakia.
He added: “Gordon is in the job at the minute and God knows I hope he turns it around.
“I saw the game against Slovakia and I was as disappointed as anyone. You really wanted to be taking four points from those two games and some of the disappointment and frustration comes not just at what happened, but the way it happened.
“Gordon is the man who is at the helm just now and like every other Scotland fan I am willing him to succeed.
“I would love to see Scotland at a major international tournament again. It generates so much in the country – it lifts players and supporters, it gives you a whole new interest in the game.