7:00 PM UTC Mar 22, 2018
Game Details
4:00 PM UTC Mar 23, 2018
Game Details
5:00 PM UTC Mar 23, 2018
Game Details
Republic of Ireland
5:30 PM UTC Mar 23, 2018
Game Details
7:45 PM UTC Mar 23, 2018
Game Details
7:45 PM UTC Mar 23, 2018
Game Details
ESPN3 8:00 PM UTC Mar 23, 2018
Game Details
ESPN3 7:45 PM UTC Mar 23, 2018
Game Details
2:00 AM UTC Mar 24, 2018
Game Details

McTominay chooses Scotland - sources

 By PA Sport

Rodgers sympathetic to Strachan's comments on Scotland genetics

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers feels Scotland need to find a way to harness their technical players, while saying he understands departed manager Gordon Strachan's comments about the country's genetic make-up.

Strachan bemoaned a lack of height in his squad after two set-piece goals cost them a place in the World Cup playoffs following a 2-2 draw in Slovenia on Sunday.

Strachan claimed Scotland had a problem physically against Slovenia and other nations and he had to pick a team to combat their set-piece strengths.

Rodgers said: "I can see where Gordon is coming from. If you compare it to some other nations, of course you have other nations that are inherently built in a different way.

"If I look at my own Swansea team, when we played in the Premier League, we had one player over 6ft 3in and the rest were highly gifted technical players who could tactically participate in the game. We always tried to find a way, there are moments in the game when you are vulnerable like set-pieces, to try and cope with that.

"The only thing I would say is that in my time up here, I have seen a lot of very talented Scottish players.

Gordon Strachan left his post as Scotland manager after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

"So, I think it is finding a way for them to fit into a systematic approach that allows them to play a technical game because you have really good technical players and then they use their strengths because Scottish players will run through a brick wall for you, will fight for you, will do everything for you and you will have seen that with Gordon's team as they progressed through the competition.''

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson was part of the Northern Ireland management staff at Euro 2016 and he feels his country have benefited from their work on set pieces.

Robinson said: "I know with Northern Ireland up until recent years -- when we have had Jonny Evans and Craig Cathcart and some big, big boys on our team -- we did struggle physically at times and the under-age groups struggle physically at times. But we have got a crop of players now, we are a big, physical imposing side.

"I think we scored something like 70 percent of our goals from set plays. We had big, imposing figures and players that delivered the ball with pinpoint accuracy, like Chris Brunt.

"Set plays are a massive, massive part of our game. I think they are in world football no matter, you look at Champions League finals being won on set plays. They are huge, and players have to realise how huge they are when you work on them.''

Another Northern Irishman, Neil Lennon, felt Strachan had a point.

The Hibernian head coach said: "I understand what he was saying with the genetics. I think he's talking more about the physicality and athleticism of the players, which has been a bug bear for people in the game here for a while.

"Scotland still don't really have a dominant centre-half, a [Virgil] van Dijk-type, or up front a [Gareth] Bale.''



Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.