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Scotland’s Martin ‘can’t play up front on his own’

Scotland striker Chris Martin is crowded out by Lithuania's Georgas Freidgeimas (left) and Mantas Kuklys

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan said Martin’s contribution against Lithuania was “outstanding”

Scotland need to play another forward alongside Chris Martin to get the best out of him, according to his former manager Paul Lambert.

Martin’s inclusion for the opening two World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Lithuania has surprised many observers.

He narrowly missed the target with a volley and a header as the Scots were held 1-1 by Lithuania on Saturday.

“I had Chris at Norwich and he is not going to run in behind people, he can’t do that,” Lambert told BBC Sportsound.

“He hasn’t got the speed to do it. If you ask him to link play up and get hold of the ball and, if a chance comes his way, he is one of the most natural finishers I have ever worked with. There is no problem with his finishing.

“But, if a team lies deep against you, like Lithuania, there is nowhere for him to run because he hasn’t got the pace to run in behind.

“But he can certainly lay it off for someone else – and the guy is a natural finisher.”

Martin, 27, scored 23 goals in 48 games in Lambert’s first season in charge of Norwich City, 2009-10, before his scoring form tailed off and he spent time on loan at Crystal Palace, Swindon Town and Derby County.

The 2013-14 season, in which he plundered 25 goals in 51 games for Derby, led to a Scotland debut and he has scored 21 and 16 goals respectively – including a first for his country – in the past two seasons.

Although he has yet to score in 12 club games for Derby and Fulham – where he is on loan – this season, and his last 20 in all, Lambert believes he can prosper for Scotland with someone alongside him.

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Scotland looked more dangerous with Leigh Griffiths’ arrival, but he couldn’t convert his one chance

“For me, if Chris is playing up front, I think he needs someone up around him, whether that is Leigh Griffiths or Oliver Burke, who I think is a brilliant talent. Then you have support round about Chrissy.

“He is a natural finisher if you get a service to him with someone in behind him, but he is not going to run over the top of people. No disrespect, but he can’t do that.”

Lambert, who won 40 caps for Scotland between 1995 and 2003 and played at the 1998 World Cup, believes Scotland will still “have a big say” in their World Cup qualifying group, despite Saturday’s setback.

“It may not be the most talented group of players Scotland have ever had, but they have great endeavour and enthusiasm and I do think they will be close,” he said.

“They might pick up points where nobody expects them to. I don’t think there is much between the teams in the group – and I include England in that.

“Scotland normally need to go away and get a result somewhere and this campaign will be no different.”

Burke ‘will get properly schooled in Germany’

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Burke produced several strong runs against Lithuania but was taken off in the second half

Lambert, who won the Champions League in 1997 during a 16-month spell with German club Borussia Dortmund, believes 19-year-old winger Burke will benefit hugely from his recent £13m move to RB Leipzig.

“He is at a club where he will get properly schooled tactically,” the 47-year-old added. “He is raw at the moment, but that will come.

“He will learn how to high press – when to go, when not to go – and different methods. There will be little things like going to hotels at different times, training at different times.

“He will do things differently, live differently and he will grow up really quickly. It brings you on as a person.

“I was fortunate enough to play with a team that had world-class players. Leipzig are a bit away from that, but they are a developing club that is going places.

“He is at a really good club where I am sure he will get a lot of help. For a 19-year-old to have that opportunity is fantastic and I am glad he has done it.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37602051