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Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Monday, 21 March 2011

Scotland's Barry Bannan eager to tackle Brazilians

International friendly: Scotland v Brazil
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London Date: Sunday 27 March Kick-off: 1400 BST

Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio Scotland 810MW

Bannan eager to face Brazil

Scotland's Barry Bannan cannot wait to have a crack at Brazil when the teams meet in a friendly in London on Sunday.

"It's a big, big game for us as a country," said the Aston Villa midfielder, currently on loan at Leeds.

"As soon as the game was announced, I was hoping I would be involved. I've been thinking about it ever since then.

"I had a niggling injury on Friday and my dad was saying he didn't know whether he wanted me to play on Saturday or save myself for Brazil."

Bannan came through 90 minutes unscathed at the weekend but was on the receiving end of a 2-0 defeat by Sheffield United.

With Darren Fletcher, Steven Naismith and Graham Dorrans missing through injury and doubts over Scott Brown's fitness, Bannan's chances of facing the South Americans have improved.

What we have to do is be brave on the ball, brave in possession

Peter Houston
Scotland assistant manager

The diminutive midfielder impressed on his debut against the Faroe Islands and made an appearance as a second-half substitute in last month's 3-0 win over Northern Ireland.

"Everyone is going to be up for it," added the 21-year-old.

"Obviously, Brazil speaks for itself. It will be a massive step up in class after the last couple of games.

"We have a good bunch of lads and it's a young squad. It will be a good test for us, to see where we are."

Scotland may be heading off for a few days in the Spanish sunshine for a training camp ahead of Sunday's match at the Emirates Stadium, but assistant head coach Peter Houston is stressing the importance of the fixture.

"You always want to pit your wits against the best," said the Dundee United boss.

"And I don't think they come any bigger than Brazil.

"We've passed the ball well in the last couple of games, kept it well and we've created plenty of chances.

"Brazil is a different kettle of fish, but what we have to do is be brave on the ball, brave in possession."

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown thinks it will be a great learning experience for Craig Levein's side.

"I have been involved in two competitive matches, in 1990 and 98 against Brazil," said the Aberdeen boss.

"We lost both games by the odd goal, I think rather unluckily, so I am hoping it is third time lucky and that Scotland will win this match.

"But more important for Craig Levein and for Scottish fans is that he finds a team or some players for his team and gets invaluable experience against Brazil, because it is a terrific fixture to play the glamour boys of world football.

"And there is no doubt that Brazil are the most glamorous international side in the world."

Jim Leighton, the former Scotland goalkeeper who played for Brown in those World Cup finals games, thinks Brazil will not be taking the Scots lightly.

"A lot of the Scottish team will really benefit from this game - it will be an education and a learning curve," he said.

"The experience from this game will probably be worth more than 10 other games and it will stand them in good stead for the campaigns to come.

"You don't treat Brazil as a friendly. It's like other teams playing against Manchester United in England or Rangers and Celtic in Scotland.

"They are not allowed to play friendlies. Their support demands that they win all their games."

see also
Scotland 0-2 Brazil
27 Mar 11 |  Scotland
Injury-hit Gordon gets Scots call
17 Mar 11 |  Scotland
No Robinho for Scotland friendly
03 Mar 11 |  Scotland
Scotland confirm Brazil friendly
15 Feb 11 |  Scotland

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