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Vogts stands up to his critics

© Reuters 2002

GLASGOW, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Berti Vogts suffered the worst criticism a Scotland manager has ever had to endure following last month's 2-2 draw with the Faroes Islands in their opening Euro 2004 qualifier.

Jock Stein, Tommy Docherty and Alex Ferguson have all managed Scotland but none were subjected to the vitriol Vogts received after failing to beat the Faroes - a side ranked 123rd in the FIFA standings - in their Toftir stadium.

The notoriously critical Scottish press lambasted Vogts with headlines such as "utter humiliation" and "who do you think you are kidding, Mr Vogts?".

Some sections of the media suggested Vogts would resign, but at Wednesday's Hampden Park news conference he was again facing his detractors as the squad was named for the qualifier in Iceland on October 12.

"My worst moment in football was when we played Albania and made a 0-0 draw there with Germany. We failed to qualify for the 1968 European championship because of that," said Vogts, who replaced Craig Brown as Scotland manager in March.

"It's a different situation as manager because we're trying to build a new Scotland side and it was a new team that played in the Faroes." The importance of getting a positive result against Iceland does not appear to be lost on Vogts, but the former Germany coach appears remarkably calm considering the recent furore.

"The players did so well in the training before the game in the Faroes and I spoke to them after it asking: 'What was the difference between what happened on the training pitch and in the game.'

"It was so different," said Vogts, whose opponents in qualifying group five also include Germany and Lithuania.

"Yes, it was two points dropped against the Faroe Islands but we are still playing for second place and a play-off place in the group.

"In Scottish football you have to look for fight, fight and also show emotion. That is the Scottish way and we must show these qualities."

Vogts has found some much-needed flair and grit by adding Motherwell's precocious young striker James McFadden and Heart of Midlothian captain Steven Pressley to his squad.

McFadden recently terrorised Scottish champions Celtic in a 2-1 win over the Glasgow side, while Pressley can perhaps bring a presence to the Scotland defence missing since Bolton Wanderers veteran Colin Hendry quit the international scene.

Vogts - who has managed only a solitary win against a Hong Kong select side - hopes happier times lie ahead.

"James is a very talented player," said Vogts. "He went with us to the Far East and I speak only good things about him, because he is an excellent player.

"Steven has good organisational qualities and he does very well when I've watched him. He's the organiser for my defence and we really need that."

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