Levein bullish about Spain test

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Craig Levein insists Scotland have "nothing to fear" against Spain in Tuesday night's do-or-die Euro 2012 Group I qualifier in Alicante.

Craig Mackail-Smith's first goal in his first international start in a 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein kept the Scots' qualifying hopes alive going into the final game against the world and European champions who are looking to complete a clean sweep of victories in this campaign. Scotland are one point above Czech Republic and must at least equal the Czechs' result in Lithuania to book a play-off spot.

"It is a tall order, we understand that but there is nothing for us to fear, that is the important thing, there is nothing to fear," Levein said. "We are playing the world champions, of course, but we are in the position where if we win the game we qualify. I believe wholeheartedly in the players and their ability to rise to the challenge."

The Scotland boss, who revealed Barry Bannan was a concern with an Achilles injury and that Charlie Adam had picked up a knock, is looking to take the uncertainty away from that scenario by inflicting an unlikely defeat on the Spanish.

"Our intention was to move into second place in the table and now we are in the position where the second place is ours to lose," he added. "We have a group of players who recover quickly, they are a fit bunch of guys and they are in a position I would have taken at the start of the campaign, where if we win the game we finish second, that's a fact.

"We can't go in the game relying on what happens in Lithuania, we have no influence over that. So it makes complete sense for me to do everything I can to win the game on Tuesday night.

"Of course we recognise it is difficult but we have nothing to fear and I can assure you that the lads will run themselves into the ground attempting to get that second spot."

Steven Naismith had missed three good chances before Brighton striker Mackail-Smith, playing in place of injured Kenny Miller, headed Phil Bardsley's cross over Peter Jehle in the 32nd minute to secure three crucial points.

Levein, though, played down his side's profligacy, saying: "I was pleased with how we played for long spells. What we didn't do is get the second goal which would have made it easier for us.

"It is not a concern because we were in positions to score goals and if we keep doing that we will score goals. But you can't compare today's game with the Spain game, they are two different matches."

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Charlie Adam
Premier League
Craig Mackail-Smith
Barry Bannan
Brighton & Hove Albion
Kenny Miller

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