Football - Strachan gets to work on long-term plans

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan cast aside the old football adage of taking 'one game at a time' as he used his first two international training sessions to prepare his team for his World Cup "gamble".

Strachan was looking beyond Wednesday night's Pittodrie friendly against Estonia as he furnished the players with information on how he wants them to play.

A session that incorporated some Aberdeen youth team players allowed him to put across his ideas ahead of next month's double header against Wales at Hampden and Serbia in Novi Sad.

Scotland look set to adopt a more aggressive pressing game under Strachan, who has been working on at least one system involving two strikers, a formation predecessor Craig Levein rarely used. And the former Aberdeen midfielder revealed the Dons Under-19s were crucial help with his tactical preparation.

"They allowed us to do things we couldn't do in that space of time you have got for training," Strachan said at a press conference. "I said to the guys it was invaluable, your help, because you can't normally do this at international level, work with defenders and midfielders and attackers.

"The Aberdeen lads allowed us to split up and probably do two days in one. So far we have been working towards what we may face in the near future, looking at a couple of systems.

"And the Estonia game, the thinking has to start now. That's no disrespect to Estonia, I'm sure they will understand that we're building for later games. We have had to do a lot of talking about what might happen in the future."

Strachan will use the 90 minutes to gear up for Wales on March 22 but he admits his team selection may be guided by the heavy Pittodrie pitch.

James Forrest has already been sent home for that reason after making his comeback form a hamstring injury during Celtic's William Hill Scottish Cup win against Raith on a boggy Stark's Park surface.

Strachan, who has also lost defenders Gary Caldwell and Grant Hanley to injury, and forward Ross McCormack to illness, added: "I have said we are at the stage where we have to gamble anyway. What we have to take into consideration is the type of pitch we play on, which might be beneficial later on if we come up against a similar surface."