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Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 17:13 UK

Snelders points the way for Scots

Theo Snelders
Former Dutch international Snelders spent a decade in Scottish Football

By Liam McLeod

Former Netherlands goalkeeper Theo Snelders has urged the Tartan Army not to abandon hopes of beating the Dutch at Hampden.

Scotland must win their final qualifier against Bert van Marwijk's star-studded Oranje on Wednesday to keep their World Cup play-off dream alive.

And Snelders, the former Aberdeen and Rangers keeper who was part of Dick Advocaat's 1994 World Cup squad, points to the last time the Dutch came to Glasgow as proof the job can be done.

James McFadden's deflected strike was enough to secure a Scotland victory on that cold November afternoon in 2003, with a late Dutch onslaught kept at bay.

Though the Scots failed to repeat that impressive display days later as they went down 6-0 in the Amsterdam return, Snelders reckons their first-leg heroics can be repeated.

"It's like a cup final for Scotland - if they want to beat Holland they'll need a little bit of luck, need to be at their best and hope we are not at our best. They'll also have to be aggressive," Snelders told BBC Scotland.

"Holland have got some players who are individually very strong. But, if they can stop these guys from playing, they could have a chance.

"I know, with the great atmosphere at Hampden, what the fans can create when they get behind the players. Like five or six years ago in that play-off for Euro 2004.

James McFadden celebrates his winner against the Netherlands in 2003
James McFadden scored the winner at Hampden in 2003

"Scotland will be aiming for that kind of game again - maybe soak up a bit of pressure and then start to believe. They did that twice to France as well in the last campaign, so they are capable of big results and they need to win."

Snelders spent eight years at Aberdeen, winning a League Cup and a Scottish Cup-winner's medal before a mid-90s move to Ibrox, where he was mainly understudy to Andy Goram.

The Netherlands sit top of Group Nine having already qualified for next year's finals in South Africa. But Snelders doesn't think the Dutch will take Wednesday's clash lightly.

"The aim is to qualify by winning all their games as it would create history, so the manager will play as strong a team as he can," he said.

"The Dutch like to take on the British teams. A tactic that works against these teams is what we call 'between the lines', where players don't get picked up and that's something the Dutch, with their tactical awareness, can use to make a difference.

"They won't be fazed by the atmosphere given some play in the likes of Milan and Madrid, so they'll relish it.

"It will be a good experience for them to play at Hampden and to see how enthusiastic it will be."


Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder was a doubt for the match, but X-rays revealed the injury he sustained during the 3-0 weekend friendly win over Japan was not as bad as first feared.

"At this moment in time, the Dutch have a group of players of a good age," added Snelders, who is coaching with Dutch club Twente.

"They all play for big teams, they've had a lot of experience already and they've got something to aim for.

"Every team who is a top nation and is sitting somewhere like third in the Fifa rankings will aim for top spot.

"They have such a strong squad - especially in attack - that, if someone like Sneijder is out, they just bring in a new player of the same quality."

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see also
Scotland 0-1 Netherlands
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Burley is defiant despite defeat
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Chick Young's view
07 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Scotland XI
10 Nov 05 |  Internationals
Scots World Cup dream still alive
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals

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