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Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Chris McLaughlin's La Manga diary - 23 March

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

Scott Brown and Steven Whittaker
Old Firm rivals enjoy a friendly game of golf at Scotland's training camp

By Chris McLaughlin

There's nothing quite like a hot bath to warm your bones.

I couldn't help thinking how strange it was though, that I found myself soaking in the wet warmth after day one with Scotland in sunny Spain.

I will readily confess to taking full advantage of the two-for-one offer on factor 20 at Glasgow airport on Monday morning before flying out.

I should have saved my money and brought a fleece.

Yes, it's safe to say the weather has not been great; there's a biting wind blowing into the La Manga resort that feels like it's on holiday from Aberdeen.

It's not just moaning journalists who have noticed it either; as the players took to the golf course yesterday in t-shirts, it was clear they too had packed with optimism.

Curfews are in place and misbehaviour won't be tolerated. Those in search of a riotous night out would do well to find a venue anyway.

There were a few choice words to go with a warm-up that proved to be more than just a light swing of the driver at the first tee.

It was all in good humour though, and that will be the most important thing to Craig Levein.

The Scotland manager would know doubt have loved for his players to get some warm Mediterranean sun on their backs before the serious training starts later in the week, but team spirit is more important that topping up the tan.

Players who have battled each other on football pitches across the UK this season were laughing like old friends on the lush fairways of La Manga and that will do the manager just fine.

Die-hard Old Firm fans may have raised a few eyebrows when Scott Brown and Allan McGregor emerged from the clubhouse together laughing like schoolboys at each others ridiculous golf garb.

The spirit that Levein is looking for appears to be coming together; the players have been under strict orders to kick back and enjoy themselves for the first few days of this trip - unsurprisingly, there have been no dissenters.

It would be difficult to ignore the lifting of the booze ban that was imposed on the squad after the calamitous Cameron House affair - but it is far from a free-for-all out here.

Curfews are in place and misbehaviour won't be tolerated. Those in search of a riotous night out would do well to find a venue anyway.

The resort has a few quiet bars but it's purpose built for sport.

In saying that, it's also set up for the sunshine. Thankfully the warm water is plentiful.

Who needs sun loungers when you've got a nice warm bath?



see also
Scotland 0-2 Brazil
27 Mar 11 |  Scotland
Bannan eager to tackle Brazilians
21 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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