Scotland futsal coach Scott Chaplain says his side are better prepared than ever for this weekend’s Home Nations – however, he insists he won’t be making any “outrageous” claims before Friday’s big kick-off.
Chaplain, who was a player in the 2016 edition, admits his side won’t be favourites in Northern Ireland this weekend but nonetheless has urged his players to show the side has developed in the 12 months since last year’s competition in Edinburgh.
The national coach spoke exclusively to Pivotal Sport before Friday’s opener against the hosts in Newry on Friday night, saying: “Progress is the main thing, first and foremost. Whether it’s progress through results from the last Home Nations or performances in the matches, we want to build on what we’ve done before.
“We’re not making any outrageous claims or setting goals that are unachievable.
“We’re looking forward to getting over there. The preparations have been good in the sense we’ve had some good games to prepare us for this tournament.
“We played Northern Ireland in a double header recently and that gave us the chance to sample the venue and the Gibraltar trip was a really big help, too, to gear us towards the Home Nations.
“It’s been really good to have games organised to challenge us. In the past we’ve not always been able to get friendlies for whatever reason and the ones against Northern Ireland and Gibraltar have prepared us well.
“You can always train but games really make a difference.”
Chaplain leads his side across the Irish Sea on Thursday night before taking on Northern Ireland at 7.30pm on Friday, then England on Saturday at 4.30pm and Wales on Sunday at 12pm. Check out our complete guide to the weekend’s action.
He announced his almost-completely home-based squad on Tuesday and says the start of the Super League structure in Scotland has helped his players be ready for competitive international futsal.
He added: “The Super League system that’s been implemented in the past 18 months or so has been a big help – it’s a really good competition and has allowed our best players to play against our best players.
“That challenges them and you can see no one team has dominated over 18 months and that’s great for me.
“Playing to international rules with the use of stop-clock and full-size courts is massive so when we play in things like the Home Nations we are ready and used to the demands required.”