SCOTLAND may not be heading to the World Cup this summer but at least the manager is.
Gordon Strachan confirmed last night that he will be covering events in Brazil for ITV Sport, allowing him to do some scouting work on Germany while he is there.
Joachim Low's side, whom the Scots will meet in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier in the autumn, are the only team from Group D who have made it to the World Cup. They will face Portugal, Ghana and the United States in the group stage, but will have designs on going much, much further than that.
"It is good for me and good for the SFA as well because it doesn't cost them anything," Strachan joked. "Usually there are technical groups that go out, or that's what they call them. We can spend a bit of time analysing Germany, but I think we already know before we get on the plane that they are one of the best teams in the world.
"We won't be able to sit there against them, we will need to score a goal. If we can score a goal that will make a huge difference. And as I say that will be the focus in the next six months, how do we move things on in that way."
The Scotland manager was speaking in the afterglow of the composed 1-0 victory against Poland in Warsaw which extended his side's unbeaten run to five matches, four of which have been wins. Strachan confirmed that the meeting with Nigeria at Craven Cottage on May 28 will be the final match practice the Scots will have before the meeting with the Germans, most likely in Dortmund, on Sunday, September 7.
While Fifa have scrapped the hated August friendly date, the Scottish Football Association had considered taking a match on the vacant Thursday in the first week of the month, but Strachan's preference is for some extended training sessions here in Scotland.
With only 90 minutes of match time left, then, the opportunity to experiment is nearly gone, but Strachan is still looking for his side to be more reliable in terms of the creation of scoring chances with only two shots on target produced in each of the last two matches.
Much has been made of Scotland's search for a striker but, with Steven Naismith continuing his sterling hold-up play, more important are the three creative types who will operate behind him. The injured James Forrest, Robert Snodgrass, and Shaun Maloney are three who could add to the options he used there in midweek, Ikechi Anya, Ross McCormack and Barry Bannan.
"In modern football it is the three behind the striker who are the most important people in the game," Strachan said. "If you look at Chelsea, their strikers aren't scoring goals but they are top of the league because of the three behind them. Shaun texted me the other day the other day to say he is back in training and feeling sharp. As soon as he has played a few games he will be back in our squad."
One player who is suddenly scoring goals, of course, is Scott Brown, with two in his last two internationals. An ability to hit the target was part of the formidable skillset which persuaded Strachan to part with the princely sum of £4.5m for Brown's services in 2007 while manager at Celtic.
Strachan will hope the midfielder's driving runs to get on the end of things will be an even more regular occurrence at international level, even if - as against Macedonia recently - he may never be the most deadeye of marksmen. "The one against Macedonia, he had a fair bit of thinking time and that is when you really need to be a top striker. Broony will tell you he is not a top striker," Strachan said. "The two goals he has got for us have been instinctive, which is a different thing.
"He gets goals from driving through, beating people, and it would be nice to see other people allowing him to do that a bit more. As I say, he just follows the ball really and has the ability to do it. You talk about people being tired but I looked at the stats and he has played 45 games this year, far more than anybody else in the Scotland team [on Wednesday] and he still covered more ground than anybody else."
Scotland are due back in Warsaw as early as October and it was difficult to assess exactly how much either camp learned from Wednesday night. Poland will undoubtedly be a different proposition once Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski return, but the Scots have at least now been exposed to their opponents' fearsome National Stadium
"We have not got too much to give away - what can you hide?" Strachan said. "What can you hide? I remember with the cup final [with Southampton] in 2003 we went to Arsenal two weeks before it and didn't want to give anything away. So we went to the game, did no preparations at all, named our team, and that was it. We were beaten 6-0. I don't think that helped anybody."