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David Turnbull confident Scotland can secure World Cup play-off spot with Moldova victory

David Turnbull could win his fourth cap for Scotland against Moldova on Friday.
David Turnbull could win his fourth cap for Scotland against Moldova on Friday.

David Turnbull is confident Scotland can rise to the occasion and deliver a World Cup play-off place with a victory against Moldova on Friday.

Steve Clarke’s squad head into their penultimate qualifier in Group I knowing a win would guarantee a second place finish behind winners Denmark.

The Scots face the Danes at Hampden on Monday but Turnbull is hopeful they can secure a play-off spot by claiming three points in Chisinau against the side ranked 181st in the FIFA world rankings.

Turnbull believes the fresh memories of securing qualification for Euro 2020 by beating Serbia in Belgrade will be beneficial for the Scots as they try to move a step closer to qualifying for another major tournament.

The Celtic midfielder said: “The squad has got used to it.

“Obviously we qualified for the Euros in the summer.

“That is what everybody wants to be in. We want to play in major tournaments.

“It is about trying to get that right and qualify for even more. We want more of what we had in the summer.

“I think we have developed the ability to handle pressure.

“We have stepped up at huge moments in the last few years. We have had huge games and we needed to get results and we have. It is about doing that again and dealing with the pressure.”

From left, Jack Hendry, David Turnbull and Liam Cooper during a trainig session at La Finca Resort, Spain.

Moldova have only one point from their eight games and have conceded an average of three goals per match.

Turnbull insists there will be no complacency and says last month’s nervy qualifier against the Faroe Islands when Lyndon Dykes scored the only goal of the game four minutes from time was a timely reminder of how difficult it can sometimes be to defeat the lower ranked nations.

He said: “We knew what we were going to face going over to the Faroes.

“They had caused other teams in the group problems.

“It was about sticking to our task, playing the way we can and getting the result in the end. That is what we did and we were delighted with that.

“Every international game is tough, every game in Europe, no matter what level the opposition are, is tough.

“Teams always give 100 per cent. Usually they are decent enough at playing football as well.

“We know how hard it is going to be. Moldova showed at Hampden how much of a test it is going to be. It is about combatting their style and going and getting a result.”

Midfielder David Turnbull has impressed for Celtic this season.

Turnbull, 22, has won only three caps for his country but the former Motherwell player has been in fine form for his club this season.

With Lyndon Dykes and Ryan Christie missing the trip to Moldova through suspension and Ryan Fraser withdrawing from the squad through injury, Clarke may turn to Turnbull to provide the creative spark in Moldova.

He said: “I’m not sure, that’s obviously the manager’s decision.

“But I know I’ll be ready if called upon.

“It’s obviously a shame the boys can’t make it due to whatever it is.

“But it gives other boys in the squad a chance, whether that’s me or anyone else, to go take their opportunity.”

The Scots have returned to the La Finca training base in Spain they previously visited prior to Euro 2020.

Turnbull added: “It’s been great. We obviously came here in the summer and everybody worked hard and enjoyed ourselves.

“It’s great to be back and get a bit of warm weather training and away from the rain and the cold back home as we look forward to these games.”

He added: “I’m feeling confident. My form has been good and so has the team’s.

“It’s just about bringing that in here with the national team and doing everything I can in the training leading up to these games so I can try to push myself in there.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

“The first time I got called up was in the summer and at that stage it was just about trying to get to know the boys.

“I loved every minute of that. Just to get picked was a big thing.

“Every camp since has been about pushing on and now I feel more part of the squad.

“All the boys have been brilliant with me and now it’s about continuing that.”


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