“YOU’LL get nothing from me on pitches!” John Carver told the assembled press at Hampden yesterday, with all intended sincerity.

After causing a stooshie prior to the last round of European Championship qualifiers with his criticism of the surfaces at Oriam, the Scotland assistant manager was determined to be on his best behaviour.

Such is the concern currently being shown in Norway around the state of the pitch at the Ullevaal Stadion ahead of the critical Group A match-up against the Scots on Saturday evening though, Carver couldn’t entirely avoid the topic.

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The surface at Norway’s national stadium came in for stick due to its threadbare, patchy appearance for the Norwegian Cup Final between Brann and Lillestrom towards the end of May, with one player commenting; "There are one million gardens in Norway that are better than that pitch.”

A furore around the pitch at the national stadium ahead of a crucial match, eh? Wha’s like us? Norway, it seems.

For Carver though, there will be no excuses accepted if Scotland do not return from Oslo with a positive result, challenging the players to adapt to whatever faces them. And with this squad, he doesn’t expect they would offer one in any case.

“As it happens, I have a friend who was at the cup final two weeks ago,” Carver said.

“He sent me a picture of it, and he said it wasn’t great. But we’ve looked at the video and it looks okay on that. Obviously, it’s from a distance. The picture he sent me it didn’t look great.

“But again, they’ve had a week-10 days to prepare it. That’s almost two weeks by the time we play there. So hopefully it will be in decent condition.

“Listen, we just have to get on with it. We can’t make an excuse. When we get there, we’ll have a look at it. We won’t train on it before we play because we don’t do that. But we’ll have a look at it and we just have to get on with it.

“In the modern day, most players play on decent pitches every week. But every now and again there’s one that isn’t great, and they have to play on it. So, we have to just deal with it. We won’t be using that as an excuse.

“We’re not going to use the pitch as a distraction. We’re totally focused on the game.

“If the pitch is poor then we’ll adapt to it and do the best we can.

“We just got on with it and you deal with it.”

One thing the Scots do not want to have to do though is wander too far from the gameplan that saw them pull off a sensational result against Spain last time out, and that has them sitting pretty at the top of their qualification group going into this fixture.

“You don’t want to change the way you want to play,” he said.

“You want to stick to your principles. But sometimes needs must and you might have to.

“I’ve been involved in games in the past when you’re trying to play when all of a sudden, the heavens open, the pitch is waterlogged and you’re still trying to play five, 10-yard passes. And it just doesn’t work.

“So, you have to adapt. Players have to see that and play without taking risks.

“What we don’t want to do is make a big excuse and go overboard about the pitch not being great. I think the important thing is, let’s deal with it when we get there and not give the players an excuse.

“That’s the thing with this group, there’s no egos. We’ve got some super players playing at big clubs, but we have no egos. They’re all down to earth guys.

“I’m sure they’ll adapt to it if need be.”

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Another thing that Scots may have had trouble adapting to in the past though is the feeling of being frontrunners in a qualifying section. But again, Carver has no doubts over the ability of this group of players to handle it, with their temperament exemplified by their muted celebrations following the defeat of Spain.

“We’ve had an incredible start to the group,” he said.

“When you think, six points from our first two games and two good performances. But, again, because we’ve got no egos, we’re not going to get carried away. We’re not going to start thinking we’ve achieved our goal. That’s because nothing’s been achieved yet.

“We’ll assess it again when we get to the halfway stage, so after these two games if we can remain in the first or second automatic positions then it’s a good start to the campaign.

“So, again, we don’t have to stop the players getting carried away with it. That’s because of the type of guys they are.

"I was quite surprised how calm it was [after we beat Spain] because it's a big scalp. Obviously, we heard what Rodri had to say about it...

“The calmness and focus was: 'Let's put it to bed, go back to your clubs, look after yourselves and then we get together again in Spain.'

"It's huge but if we do [get a good result], I'm confident the guys won't get carried away because we've got level-headed lads.

“They won't get ahead of themselves, and I think that's important.”

That get-together over the last week in the homeland of their previously vanquished group rivals will, in Carver’s view, see the Scots arrive at their June fixtures in finer fettle than they were for the desperately disappointing defeats to Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland at this point last year.

“I have to talk about the camp in Spain,” he said.

“Last year, we didn't get enough time with the players before that big [World Cup] qualifying game. We didn't want to make the same mistake, so we decided to bring the guys in.

“It was a super camp for five days. We actually did some double sessions and some of the lads were jokingly asking if it was pre-season again. It was important to get them together because of what happened the previous year.

“We've had plenty of time to prepare - well, I've had plenty of time because I've got nothing else to do!

“We look at everything, all the options, what they could do. They could possibly go with two strikers, for example. They have to win the game to close the gap on us. They are at home and need to take advantage so they might do something different.

“We know enough about how they play. The style doesn't change that much, depending on personnel. Obviously, if you've got (Erling) Haaland through the middle then you are talking about a different player. We know about them, and we are prepared for that.”