JAMES Forrest is relishing a revenge mission against Belgium in the Euro 2020 qualifiers. Currently the top team in the Fifa rankings, Roberto Martinez and Shaun Maloney’s star-studded outfit were the top seeds in a section which also includes Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino, with our campaign scheduled to start with a trip to Astana in March. Russia too reached the quarter finals of their home World Cup, only eliminated by eventual winners Croatia on penalties.

Five goals in two games from Forrest mean Alex McLeish’s men have a play-off place in their back pocket at least for the competition, but the Celtic winger is armed with plenty of experience of playing out in Russia and Kazakhstan at club level and is determined to set the record straight against a Belgium side who dismantled Scotland 4-0 at Hampden as recently as September.

“It is obviously a hard group,” said Forrest. “You don’t expect it to be anything else. There are some hard teams in it and there is no such thing as an easy international match, but once they come around, I’d hope everyone is still feeling good with what happened in the two matches last month and we can get some results.

“It’s not just me who has been to places such as Russia and Kazahkstan,” he added. “There will be a lot of players in the squad that have played in the countries. It gives you the knowledge of what it’s going to be like and you can also take into the confidence if you have had results there in the past.

“We’ll wait and see what the situation is when those games [against Belgium] come around, but you know you are always going to get a top team from the first group of seeds and none of them were going to easy. Of course, we played them in a friendly not so long ago and it’s clear that it didn’t go too well for us on that occasion, but that just gives us the chance to try and get our own back on them. It’ll be a case of trying to nick something in one of the two games against them and then making sure we do our jobs against the rest of the teams in the section.”

For all the chat about call-offs prior to the double header against Albania and Israel, Scotland have a promising young group of players who seem to get on well together. “It definitely feels that, in the last couple of camps, it’s been more of a club vibe,” said Forrest. “There was a real buzz after the Israel game and it can only give the players confidence as well as making people want to come and really want to be a part of it.

“It was nice to do well in the last two games for Scotland, but that was in November and it is March before the group starts, so plenty of things can change and you have to keep doing well if you can.

“I want to get as many caps as I possibly can and keep being successful for Scotland, so it’s down to me and everyone else to keep at a high level for the next four months and take it into the next campaign when it starts in the spring.”