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Southampton (A) Sat 20 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Scottish Strength Pleases Steven

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Steven Naismith believes Scotland are ready to make up for their Euro 2012 disappointment by qualifying for the World Cup.

The Scots narrowly missed out on a play-off spot for this summer's European Championships and have been pitted in a tough group as they seek a place at the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

But Blues forward Naismith is confident his national side have taken significant strides forward under manager Craig Levein.

He said: “Nobody can deny there has been a lot of progress made from where the squad was before he took over.

“We've all now had experience in qualifiers. It's not as if it is a new squad coming together. We've been together for a while now, which goes a long way.

“Now we need to turn that into performances on the park at the qualifying stage, not doing it just in friendlies.

“We need to show we are capable and that what the manager has been working towards is now paying off.”

The Tartan Army welcome Serbia to Hampden Park on Saturday, before Macedonia also visit Glasgow on Tuesday.

With Croatia, Wales and Belgium making up the rest of their group, Naismith expects a challenge in every single game.

“It is really exciting for the whole squad,” he said.

“I think it is because a lot of the boys are playing at a high level, week in, week out for their clubs.

“They are all hungry to play and push that on to the national team. That's definitely exciting.”

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