ALEX McLeish has backed an inexperienced Scotland squad to cope with the considerable challenges of playing Peru and Mexico in their final Russia 2018 warm-up matches on home soil and expressed hope that many players will come of age at international level in the Americas.

McLeish yesterday named seven uncapped players – goalkeepers Jordan Archer and Jon McLaughlin, defenders John Souttar and Lewis Stevenson, midfielders Dylan McGeouch and Graeme Shinnie and winger Lewis Morgan – in his 24-man pool for the end-of-season friendlies.

It is the first time that Souttar of Hearts, Stevenson of Hibs and Morgan of Celtic have been called up by their country and they can expect a harsh introduction to international football if they feature in either of the matches.

The games against Peru in the 45,000-capacity National Stadium in Lima a fortnight today and Mexico in the 87,000-capacity Azteca Stadium in Mexico City four days later are both sell-outs. It is the last occasion that supporters of both countries will have the chance to see their teams at home before the World Cup finals.

The Scotland players will also have to deal with playing at altitude – Mexico City is over 7,000 feet above sea level and the national team will only arrive the day before the game in order to cope.

But McLeish, who has omitted several Celtic players following talks with their manager Brendan Rodgers as well as a raft of established internationalists who play down in England, has faith in those he has called up for the controversial trip to South and Central America and is confident the jaunt, who had been arranged before he was appointed, will prove beneficial.

“It’s not a weak squad by any manner of means,” he said. “We have two or three players missing, but do I think these guys can cope? Absolutely. 100 per cent. I feel confident about the players we’re taking out there.

“They’re a warm up act for two World Cup teams so to all intents and purposes it looks as if they are going to have two big parties, but we want to spoil them. It won’t be easy with the altitude in Mexico and the heat in Peru - we will essentially need two teams.

“It was all done before I came in so we’ve got to embrace this and see what we can do to enhance our squad of the last couple of games. We want to get results but we know the bigger picture are the games in September and October (Scotland will get their UEFA Nations League games against Albania and Israel).”

He continued: “The performance guys have done their homework and it looks like we can’t be in Mexico City two or three days before because you don’t acclimatise in that level of time.

“It’s more a case of arriving the day before, playing the game and it should - according to what Graeme Jones has been told by players with experience of playing at altitude in the MLS and other sports in Mexico City - the best preparation is just to arrive the day before.

“It can make you lethargic and feel one paced, that kind of thing. You can suffer. We’re doing everything we can preparation wise and the Mexico one looks as if it could be the harder fixture of the two in terms of acclimatisation.

“There will definitely be no stone left unturned in terms of anything we can do to help the players. If they need more oxygen or whatever then of course there are going to be facilities there.

“I believe these guys are all strong. But they’ll be playing in front of two capacity crowds, two World Cup send-offs, so they’ll be wanting to head to the tournament with victory in their pocket. We’ve got other plans.”

Peter McLaughlin, the SFA security officer, has made a reconnaissance trip to both Peru and Mexico in preparation for the trip and McLeish is confident there will be no issues with players’ safety in either country.

“It is tough,” he said. “But do you know what? They should embrace it. Live the dream. It’s incredible to see other cultures. In your career going to Mexico and Peru and some places in Europe as a footballer is fairytale stuff. It’s the stuff you dream about as a wee boy in primary school.”

“I know there’s a lot of issues in certain parts of Mexico with gangs, but I don’t believe where we are there’s anything untoward and the players will be well chaperoned when we are out there anyway.”