Having been involved in five major championships with the Scotland national team, Craig Brown knows what it takes to reach the major events and he is confident that Strachan’s men can deliver success this time around.

The World Cup Qualification campaign kicks off on Sunday in Malta with 5,000 supporters expected in Ta’ Qali to roar on the team.

Speaking exclusively to Michael Lamont from the Scottish FA, Brown said: “Everyone knows I’m a super optimist and I always think we’re going to qualify. This isn’t just blind loyalty, this is a genuine belief. I have a feeling that our team is getting better and stronger and our younger players are maturing as well.

“Gordon (Strachan) is highly regarded by the players and the fans. We’re all set up to reach the World Cup this time.

“It would be fantastic to qualify and when we’re there, it will just lift the nation and the whole game will take a major boost.”

Having had vast experience in guiding the nation through the tricky qualifiers, Brown knows that Malta should not be underestimated on Sunday, having faced them in his time as boss.

He said: “My second game in charge of the team was in Malta in 1993 because we’d lost against Italy and then we took on Malta where I was offered the job.

“I’ll always have a soft spot for Malta because of that.

“Hopefully we can get a good result in Malta and that will set us up.

“You’ve got to be warned that although it’s allegedly a lesser nation they’ve always got a problem for the bigger nations.

“Usually they have a key player and my policy was usually to man mark him as if he doesn’t play, they don’t play.

“The first game is invariably an exciting one and sometimes sets the tone for the rest of the campaign.

“The highlight of the group is that we’re playing ‘them’. These will be wonderful games. You’ll not be able to get a ticket for love nor money for the games against England. I am eagerly looking forward to both of those fixtures.

“The first one is down in Wembley and I genuinely believe, looking at England’s recent performances, that we can beat them!”