Crowd support can be 'huge' benefit claims McDonald

Scott McDonald is used to large, vocal crowds at his club Celtic and it plays a big part in their success and he has no doubts the same support on Sunday night at Suncorp Stadium, could play a key role in a Socceroos victory over Iraq.

Scott McDonald is used to large, vocal crowds at his club Celtic and it plays a big part in their success and he has no doubts the same support on Sunday night at Suncorp Stadium, could play a key role in a Socceroos victory over Iraq.

A full house is expected in Brisbane for the important World Cup qualifying game, the first time a capacity crowd will be on hand for a football game at the re-developed stadium.

McDonald regularly plays in front of 60,000 fans at Celtic home games and it gives the players a massive lift and he is confident the Aussie fans will do the same.

Asked how a full house would benefit the Australian team on Sunday evening, McDonald couldn-t have expressed it anymore clearly.

“Huge, it always is,” he said after a sharp one hour workout at Ballymore, where the team is training. “The last game in Melbourne, we had a full house there and most of the games have been sell outs, so hopefully they can all get behind us again.

“Hopefully they will get an entertaining game that we want to give the fans, so they keep coming back for more.

“I am sure they will all get behind the boys and there will be some great banter flying about. It-s something I look forward to.

“A lot of Aussie people haven-t seen a lot of me and it-s a great chance for me to show people what I can do.”

The good support is vital because as McDonald puts it the home games are must win games in these group qualifiers.

“Yeh, they are vital,” he said. “The three home games are the one-s where you look to set your sights on nine points and obviously with the away games its difficult because of the heat, but every game we look to win, but the three home games are vital if we want to make through to the next group stage.”

But if Australia is to win, coach Pim Verbeek will be hoping the Melbournian can replicate his goalscoring form for Celtic, where he netted 31 goals in all competitions.

The 24-year-old is one of the new players on the international scene that will carry Australia-s hopes through the next two World Cup campaigns, but with no goals next to his six appearances for the national team, he is desperate to break his duck.

“I haven-t got off the mark yet, as everyone knows,” he said bluntly. “I think I have only started three games; I-m still learning to play with all the boys and this week is a good opportunity for me to learn, like the game against Qatar, and more and more I am starting to link better with Bresc (Mark Bresciano), Josh (Josh Kennedy) and few others and I enjoyed and loved it.

“To get the opportunity to play with these guys, Harry (Kewell) as well, it-s great and I am just really looking forward to showing my stuff.”

Many will argue that McDonald-s shortish stature is against him starting in Verbeek-s playing system, of one striker up front, but McDonald believes he has gained considerable experience in that very role at Celtic and if asked to play that way, he has no qualms.

“I have made no hiding of the fact that I much prefer to play with someone else (a second striker), but in recent times, especially in the Champions League away from home with Celtic, I-ve played up front on my own.

“I have learnt a lot more experienced wise, playing in that position on my own and I would be more than happy to do that job if called upon for my country. I would play anywhere, as long as I was in the starting eleven.

“All I can do is work hard in training, show the manager that I am fit and ready to go and we-ll wait and see.”

McDonald is still pinching himself at how this year has gone for Celtic and himself personally and has whetted the appetite for more success, which he has no doubts can achieved with Celtic. While not ruling anything out, he doesn-t see a move from Celtic in the near future.

“It-s been a fantastic finish to the season for us (Celtic); that-s what you work hard for all season for; to win Championships.

“I am just absolutely over the moon, along with the family, to have done that and it also means we automatically qualify for the Champions League, so that-s a fantastic prospect for myself and the rest of the players and another chance to play against the best players in the world and learn and become a better player.

“I am quite happy where I am. With the success this year, I-m hungry for more of that and to have the support; play in the Champions League; win Championships; the success we have this year, it-s been a dream season and I don-t really see myself moving in the too near future.”

McDonald has no doubts Iraq will be tough and recent results shouldn-t won-t be taken for granted. Asked if he thought they would be happy with a draw, saying “I think that is possible.”