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Football: Scots desperate to end two-year Hampden horror

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan says his side don't fear playing at Hampden as they look to end a two-year winless run at the national stadium.

The Scots will bring the curtain down on another unsuccessful World Cup qualification campaign when Croatia visit Hampden on Tuesday.

Strachan's side haven't won at the national stadium in over two years and have only collected two points from their four previous home matches in the campaign.

"It is just us, we have to play better," Strachan said.

"We have to use what we have -- plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to work when we haven't got the ball. And we need to use that to create more space for us when we have the ball.

"I don't detect any fear in the players at playing at Hampden. It just needs us to use the ball better and use our energy to create space for players and things like that. That is what we have been working on all week.

"They are a good bunch of lads to work with. Their enthusiasm in training has been very good so it should be there when you come to a game, because that is the best part of it."

Scotland's record at Hampden may be poor but away from home Strachan's side have collected wins in Croatia and Macedonia.

And the Scotland boss said he had been working on systems with his players to end the Hampden hoodoo.

"We have been working on things to create space when we are further up the pitch, to use our athletic ability," Strachan said.

"There are systems away from home we think we can rely on. I wouldn't say we've cracked it because you never know what's round the corner, but there are things we are comfortable with.

"At home I want to see more energy off the ball, give the player in possession more options. That involves lots of work.

"I've always said it's not nights out or going to the go-karts or playing golf that makes team spirit; it's winning.

"When you win a game, like against Croatia or Macedonia, and you're in the dressing room, the atmosphere is great and it does develop team spirit. Everybody gets a kick from a win."

Croatia lost 2-1 at home to Belgium on Friday, ending their slim hopes of topping Group A, but will be keen to end their campaign with a win as they head into the play-off ties looking to book a place in Brazil.

However, Scotland defender Charlie Mulgrew insists the Scots will be equally eager to end the campaign on a high against the group runners-up

"The last wee while has been pretty good so we want to end the campaign on a high. It would be nice to finish with a good result," he said.

"There was a lot of hard work that night in Croatia. The manager put his ideas across and the team carried them out very well."

Striker Jordan Rhodes and full-back Lee Wallace have both pulled out through injury with Motherwell's Steven Hammell called up to Strachan's squad.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131013/football-scots-desperate-end-two-year-hampden-horror