Sheffield Wednesday: Bannan clinging to World Cup dream

Barry Bannan, left, preparing with the Scotland team for tonight's match.  Photo: : Nick Potts/PA Wire
Barry Bannan, left, preparing with the Scotland team for tonight's match. Photo: : Nick Potts/PA Wire
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Barry Bannan is not giving up on his World Cup dream despite having a spanner thrown into the works by Scotland’s draw with Lithuania on Saturday.

The Sheffield Wednesday midfielder was impressive in the middle of the park for the Scots at Hampden but collectively the team lacked fluency and it took a James McArthur equaliser late in the game to scure a point for Bannan and his team mates.

Now Scotland are in Trnava to face Slovakia tonight, where a win would do no harm at all following Saturday’s setback and Bannan has made something of a rallying call against those who have now dismissed Scotland’s chances of qualifying off the back of a home draw.

And there was a warning to England too, who haven’t exactly been firing on all cylinders in the group as yet.

“We are disappointed. Beforehand, you go into that Lithuania game wanting to win it and we didn’t. The important thing is to try and take the positives that we can,” said Bannan.

“We managed to secure a point from the match when it looked like we might get nothing and the results in the other matches have worked in our favour.

“At this point, we are in the second in the group and going into a massive match on Tuesday.

“The group is going to be full of ups and downs.

“Lithuania have already shown that they are going to take points from the other teams. They did it to Slovenia and they have done it to us.

“It will be similar to the last campaign when it went right to the death and we just have to try to concentrate on ourselves and get the right results to qualify.

“I really don’t think England are going to run away with the group either.

“Their first two results were a tight 1-0 win in Slovakia and a 2-0 at home to Malta so it is going to be a really close group.

“It will go right to the wire.”

Bannan was one of the players Gordon Strachan singled out for praise following the match, with the international boss describing the 26 year old as ‘terrific.’

It would be a surprise if, having performed well against Lithuania, Bannan would now lose his place in the starting XI, not least with Darren Fletcher struggling to be fit for the qualifier.

“It might turn out to be a good point when the campaign ends and we look back,” he added.

“We hung in there and kept going and kept going.

“We could have won in the end after we got the equaliser and we had an effort cleared off the line.

“It’s hard to take positives from a match like that, but you have to try. The important thing is to get it together for Tuesday and go again.”

Tuesday’s European World Cup qualifying fixtures