THE Scotland players have been warned against a repeat of their Cardiff capitulation by the bristling national coach, Berti Vogts.

Christian Dailly revealed that Vogts' patience with his squad was finally exhausted by the 4-0 defeat against Wales last month. He has demanded an instant restoration of respectability against Romania at Hampden tomorrow night.

He held a team meeting before yesterday's training session at Dumbarton's Strathclyde Homes Stadium and insisted that further failure will not be tolerated, regardless of personnel.

Injuries have necessitated the recruitment of Celtic's John Kennedy, Scott Shearer, the Coventry City goalkeeper, Stephen Crainey of Southampton, and Portsmouth's Richard Hughes.

Vogts' future is in serious jeopardy after the concession of 10 goals in back-to-back defeats against Holland and Wales. He has continually protected his players from the criticism, but yesterday reminded them that their places in the World Cup qualifying campaign are at stake.

''He has been an angry man,'' said Dailly. ''He has taken a lot of flak and in a way shielded us from some of it but he sees the way the team plays as a reflection on him and we know we have to improve, starting against Romania.

''Berti put it on the line for us. He is pretty aggressive most of the time anyway, and was like that as a player, but we know how he's feeling. We went over what went wrong against Wales and were told in no uncertain terms not to repeat those mistakes.''

A scheduled meeting of the SFA executive committee takes place on Friday and another defeat would put Vogts' position high on the agenda.

He has lost the faith of a section of the support and has resorted to gimmicks such as giving the Tartan Army their own squad number (No.25) to buy him time. None the less, the players remain fully supportive of him, as does David Taylor, the chief executive, and, according to Tommy Burns [Vogts' assistant], the feisty German has no inclination to leave despite the lure of taking over the Turkish national team.

''He is not the type to do it [resign],'' said Burns. ''There was definitely contact [from Turkey], I know that, but it would never be an issue.

''He genuinely feels that, when the day and time comes for him to leave here, he wants to look back and see he has got a young team together that can grow and mature.''

Both Dailly and Burns defended the apparently endless experimentation and pointed to the raft of call-offs as a persistent problem. Only nine players trained yesterday and while Vogts pledged to play his strongest team possible against Romania, he will be forced to play without his first-choice goalkeeper, Rab Douglas.

In addition, Jackie McNamara and Andy Webster are out, as is his most creative midfielder, Darren Fletcher. Strikers Kevin Kyle and Paul Gallagher have withdrawn and Stephen Pearson is also a doubt.

''In order to make an impact, we really need our best 11 players to be playing. Unfortunately, there are very few times we have managed it, especially in friendlies,'' said Burns.

''The squad gets taken apart in friendly games, but Berti is old enough in the horns that he knows it comes with the territory. The people who criticise him must look at what the man is working with.''

Dailly echoed those sentiments having surveyed the wreckage of the latest party. ''Craig Brown played the same squad, never made too many changes and has as good a record as anyone could ever have with Scotland,'' he said of Vogts' predecessor.

''We are doing it another way now and it takes time. There's nothing worse for morale than losing by a big score because it takes another month or so before you get the opportunity to rectify it. He has big plans for the next four years and the next qualifying campaign is crucial because we want to do well on the biggest stage.''

Paul Gallacher, Steven Pressley, Dailly and Kennedy are the only confirmed starters and Burns, who has watched Kennedy's development at first hand as Celtic's head of youth development, believes he has the attributes for a successful international career.

''His sheer size strikes you right away and he has worked very hard on his physical conditioning,'' he said. ''To be honest, there is no point elaborating on the state of the country's football. If someone is showing potential, he must be given a chance.

''John played in the UEFA Cup in Barcelona and handled himself very well, then came back and coped in an intimidating atmosphere against Rangers at Ibrox. I was 23 and had won three championships and two Scottish Cups when I got my Scotland debut.''

Transylvania's most dreaded export since Count Dracula, The Cheeky Girls, have been used to promote the friendly, and with fewer than 30,000 expected at Hampden, Dailly knows the players must deliver. ''We know the atmosphere will not be like Holland or Germany but it is up to us to give the fans something to cheer about,'' he said.

''The most important thing is to play the type of football that reflects the kind of nation we are and our mentality. We need to get out of the habit of treating friendlies as such.''