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Mulgrew: We've all Scot better thanks to the Celtic bhoys; SCOTLAND LATEST.

Byline: Scott McDermott

Charlie Mulgrew insists the Celtic players in the Scotland squad are dragging others up to their level.

The Blackburn defender spent a decade at Parkhead alongside the likes of Scott Brown, James Forrest, Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Leigh Griffiths and Stuart Armstrong.

After playing his part in the wins over Lithuania and Malta last week, he says the Hoops stars now influence those around them in Gordon Strachan's squad.

Mulgrew, 31, said: "Those two wins were as comfortable as I can remember playing for Scotland. Certainly the Lithuania one was the most comfortable I have ever felt in an away game.

"And that's a big thanks to the boys at Celtic because they work in a certain way. There are a few of them in the team now and they drag everyone else with them.

"They have a certain way of playing and with so many in the squad, we've gelled together with them. It helps Scotland that they are playing every week together for their club.

"They're playing with a lot of confidence so we're happy to have them. With other boys chipping their bit in, we're delighted with how it's going.

"Celtic are playing really well and we've got others at a good level.

But we have not achieved anything yet, we have only won a couple of games. We are happy but we have to move on now."

Scotland's hopes of getting to Russia 2018 looked doomed early on in the campaign after a draw at home to Lithuania and a heavy defeat in Slovakia.

But a win over the Slovaks at Hampden next month will leave them on the brink of the play-offs and Mulgrew insists the players have never stopped believing they could do it.

He said: "We might have been written off at the start but as players you have to keep believing.

"There's no way you give it up.

While there are other games and points up for grabs, you have to believe in yourself.

"We are pleased to be in this position but there is a long way to go. The end goal is to be at the World Cup and that's still going to be difficult. Every team wants to be there.

"The win on Monday along with England's result was massive for us. It's a nice feeling knowing it's in our hands now. Going into those two games, if you had offered us a 3-0 and a 2-0 we would have bitten your hand off.

"We played well and got the results we needed so we can put them behind us now and look ahead to the next one in October.

"We need the place rocking against Slovakia, that would be great. When the supporters get behind us, it really helps the team."

Scotland and Cardiff City right-back Callum Paterson is set to play his first match in 10 months tomorrow in an under-23 fixture against Hull after recovering from a horror knee injury

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EXLT
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:503
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