SCOTLAND manager Gordon Strachan has weighed in to the debate over the state of the Hampden pitch by describing it as “average” but has no plans to shift future international games away from the national stadium. The surface, relaid before the recent League Cup final, was criticised by Celtic and Scotland captain Scott Brown after Tuesday’s friendly against Denmark, while Rangers manager Mark Warburton has also expressed his concerns over its suitability.

As well as Queen’s Park’s remaining League Two fixtures, Hampden will host next weekend’s Petrofac Cup final between Rangers and Peterhead, and then the two William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals the following weekend. The Scottish Football Association has a lease on the national stadium until 2020 and Strachan is happy with that arrangement.

“The pitch doesn’t affect the way we plan for games,” he said. “It didn’t seem to be a problem for [Denmark’s] Christian Eriksen, he seemed to be very good on that. And their right centre back [Simon Kjaer] was pinging balls left, right and centre on it so he didn’t have a problem with it. John McGinn – did he have a problem with it? I don’t think so.

“I’ve been on the pitch. We trained on it last Saturday which was good as it’s not always easy for the staff to allow us on there. It was fine. Okay, it’s average which is what Broony said. He said Murrayfield is better and I can understand that. But at this moment in time I don’t have a problem with [Hampden].

“I played on a lot, lot worse pitches than this. We’re okay with this. It’s an average pitch at the moment but the boys here will make it better. That’s good and it will need time to settle. I’ve never seen Murrayfield or been on the pitch for years. They tell me it’s lovely. But this is where we play games. There are some places where we can’t play because they can’t deal with international games as regulations say they have to be better. Here at Hampden we’re fine. Let’s get on with it. We’re here until 2020 and we get on with it.”

Strachan welcomed the return of the Old Firm league fixture next season but dismissed the notion it would greatly improve the Scotland set-up. Having players featuring regularly in European club competition, he argued, would be of far greater benefit to the national manager.

“About 10 years when Celtic and Rangers were both in the Champions League, I think Walter [Smith, then Scotland manager] had eight or nine players who were playing regularly in Europe. That makes a big difference. Players playing in big games against big players. Now apart from Celtic I don’t think we have any players who play in European football. That’s incredible. Champions League football is invaluable. The players feel so good about themselves and they get to understand that level of football. The Old Firm games are different to European games, different from anything else. It’s better to have them than not but whether it’s European style football….I don’t think so.”

Strachan revealed he won’t repeat the trick of naming two separate squads for the forthcoming friendlies against Italy and France at the end of the season, and expects to be again without the injured James McArthur, the Crystal Palace midfielder who for a spell was the highest-ranked player at his disposal.

“McArthur’s a big player for us now,” added Strachan. “At one point he was our most prominent player in world football. His team were eighth in the league and everyone else was either [lower Premier League] or Championship in England, or Premiership or Championship up here. There was nobody above McArthur in any league in the world that we could take. Other players are way above us at other countries. People say “it’s only Denmark” but you look at where they play. And then you look at us: “he doesn’t get a game for Brighton, he doesn’t get a game for Norwich” and the rest. So it’s not easy for these guys to play against teams that have got guys playing at top European sides.”

Strachan will go to Euro 2016 but only to spy on World Cup qualifying opponents Slovakia, admitting it would be too painful to work as a television pundit following Scotland’s failure to qualify. “I’ll go and watch Slovakia. I won’t be doing TV or anything like that. That wouldn’t be right.”