Scotland manager Steve Clarke has urged his side’s critics to look beyond results for evidence of the national team’s progress.
The Scots have started their World Cup qualifying campaign with two draws against Austria and Israel, and will look to record their first win when they host Faroe Islands tonight.
Clarke feels expectations have been raised as a result of Scotland reaching their first major tournament since 1998, when they qualified for this summer’s European Championships in November.
The Scotland boss is content with the way his side is developing, irrespective of the reaction to recent results.
Clarke said: “It hasn’t gone within the camp. We feel good. We understand what we’re trying to do, we understand where we’re trying to get to.
“We qualified for a tournament for the first time in 23 years – which is a long time – and this group deserved a lot of credit for that. And they got a lot of credit for it.
“Expectations have been raised, but we still understand that we’re a work in progress and we’re trying to get better.
“I keep mentioning the number of caps we’re picking up and we’ll keep getting more people more caps and be better prepared.
“We’re well prepared now in terms of mentality and readiness for international football.
“Hopefully if we progress, and the squad grows and develops, then we’ll be better prepared to go away to places like Israel.
“We’ll know that at times we need to dig in, but then I thought we did that.
“I understand and don’t want to be too critical of the media but sometimes the media look at the result.”
Clarke has hinted at making a change in goal for tonight’s game at Hampden, with Craig Gordon and Jon McLaughlin both options to replace first choice David Marshall.
With Scotland in need of a first victory in the section, Clarke says he will make changes sparingly, adding: “You’re got to look at every gem in its own context.
“It’s a game we need to win so there maybe won’t be quite as many rotations or changes as I might have done had we got a few more points in the bag.
“We’re definitely going to go strong to win the game.
“We need to get the balance right too.
“I’ve got a few decisions I want to mull over in my head overnight. It’s difficult to put a figure on how many changes there could be. We’ll just wait and see. No doubt I’ll get stick for it anyway.”
Clarke has seen improvement in the Faroes side, who are ranked 107th in the world, however he knows his side cannot afford to slip up at Hampden Park.
He added: “If you are not sure about the Faroes then watch the first 30 minutes of their match against Austria at the weekend. They were good.
“What are their strengths? Two banks of four defensively, they keep two up top. So, they ask questions of you on the counter attack.
“They are a physical team and are a threat on set-plays. That would be how I would describe the Faroes. They have decent ability.
“But it’s a game we have to win, I am not talking them up and saying they are fantastic. They are a good, competent international team.
“If you play against one of them then you have to the job properly. You have to play well and create chances and take those chances and make sure you get three points.”