by Press and Journal
My phone has been ringing non-stop following the World Cup qualifying draw which puts Scotland in the same group as Holland.
I was working for Dutch TV at Hampden in the 2004 play-offs and the stick I took from friends in Holland following the 6-0defeat in the second leg in Amsterdam was unbelievable.
I take great encouragement from the fact Scotland have improved immensely from the side which lost heavily in 2003 and I believe the Dutch team of today is much poorer.
I say that because I know what is going on behind the scenesat Oranje national team at the moment.
Marco van Basten, as wonderful a player as he was, is finding international management to be a very different challenge and a large percentage of the Dutch media is against him.
He is very single-minded when it comes to coaching which is what led to his very publicdisagreement with Ruud van Nistelrooy which resulted in the Real Madrid forward being dropped from the team.
His team is much younger now than what they were and they struggled through their group to qualify for the 2008European championship finals.
It just does not seem to be the Dutch team I grew up with and there is a lack of quality in the squad now.
Arthur Numan, Ruud Gullit, van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Ronald Koeman were wonderful players, but I don't think the current crop come anywhere near their standard.
I hope our players realise it when the games eventually come round. Scotland did brilliantly in a strong group after getting off to a good start, but I think the fixture schedule will be crucial to our hopes.
We don't want to face Holland at the start of the campaign and I would hope we get some points on the board first before tackling the challenge of facing them.
As for the other teams, the Norwegian and Iceland games will be difficult, but the type of challenge they present is one Scotland can handle I'm sure.
The team we really do have to be wary of, though, is Macedonia. Do not pay any attention to the fact they were in the last group of seeded teams.
I have been to their stadium and watched them play, and there is no doubt technically they are very good.