Man Utd's Ferguson urges Hampden crowd to be positive

"I think how the Scots lads handle the whole situation will be crucial," Ferguson, who is close to Scotland manager Alex McLeish, told The Scotsman. "The important thing is to believe in their chance, to tell themselves they can do it. Alex is very good at putting that kind of positive attitude into players' heads. You saw when he won the League championship with Rangers in 2005 how he kept them believing, even when it looked as though Celtic had it tied up with four or five games to play.

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"What will be key is how they handle making mistakes. It is a game where mistakes will be made, there's no doubt about that. It's such an important occasion for both sides that errors are inevitable. Since Scotland have a lot younger and less experienced players than the Italians, you might worry that, in making a mistake, that lack of experience could cause them to lose a little of their belief.

"This is where the supporters have a big part to play, because how they react to players making mistakes will also be very significant. The thing is, when they are right behind the team from the start, as we saw in the 3-1 win over Ukraine, you don't see the players make as many mistakes.

"Alex and I had a talk on Sunday after our game and it's quite clear that he is ready for it. He already knows what his team will be, barring accidents. He's an intelligent man and meticulous in his preparation. He has all the video evidence necessary and you can be sure the Scotland players will be ready for anything."

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