ALEX McLeish says Scotland must win their Uefa Nations League opener against Albania at Hampden tomorrow night after the bruising friendly defeat to Belgium.

The 4-0 thumping on Friday night was the fourth defeat in the five matches of McLeish’s second reign, with Scotland scoring just once in that time in the 1-0 win over Hungary. It also represented the biggest defeat for the national side on home soil for 45 years.

That has left the head coach under pressure already going into his first competitive outing, and he says he is under no illusions that his side have to claim victory.

“It does feel that way, aye,” McLeish said. “I can’t sit here and say we don’t need to win and it is still experimentation time. No, of course we want to win, and we must win. If we draw or lose, then for me, that is a bad start. It doesn’t mean you can’t rescue it, but we want to get off to a flyer at Hampden on Monday night.

“I think [the players] understand we have got to win this game and I think that they are all up for it. I have seen a few of them wandering about and they are all really up for it. It is a chance to do something and get under way with all guns blazing.”

McLeish is not worried the humbling at the hands of the side who finished third in the World Cup this summer will affect the confidence of his players going into the Albania match, believing that they had shaken it out of their systems by the next morning.

“I honestly believe they are up already,” he said. “We spoke after the game. We have said we shot ourselves in the foot.

“At that stage you are hoping it isn’t 10 but we kept the discipline right until the end and nearly got on the scoresheet a couple of times, which was encouraging.

“They saw the game out. I saw Belgium against England in the third-place play-off and they could have had five or six, they are that good a team, and that was without England making mistakes.”