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Spy at Scotland Training


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ALEX McLEISH told how he stopped a closed-doors training session after spotting a shady-looking observer recording his players from the top of a van.

The Scotland boss was putting his squad through what was supposed to be a secret session at Dumbarton's Strathclyde Homes Stadium when the mystery man arrived in a chauffeur-driven Merc and clambered on top of a white transit van.

But the national boss ordered his men to play it for laughs and WAVE for the camera.

And McLeish insisted the Machiavellian episode will NOT have undermined his big-game plan for tomorrow's crucial Euro 2008 showdown against Italy.

He said: "Don't worry, no secrets got out! We spotted some guys watching the session and, as it was supposed to be a closeddoors session, we simply weren't very happy about it.

"One of them was wearing sunglasses, a hooded jacket and holding a camera. We didn't think it was right so we told the players to stop and to give the guy a wave.

"We found it quite funny. The guy was hardly inconspicuous. Put it this way, I don't think he was Italy's answer to James Bond!"

Record Sport had earlier in the day tipped off McLeish to the possibility of an unwanted intruder at his lunchtime training session after learning the Italian camp were desperately trying to find out where and when the secret workout would take place.

The Scotland boss had planned to put his players through their paces behind closed-doors and would have been hoping to work on the set-piece drills which have been vital throughout this incredible quest to reach next summer's finals in Austria and Switzerland.

McLeish's training routines have recently caught out Lithuania and Ukraine and now the world champions appear to fear they too could be undone.

But McLeish is keen not to become embroiled in making claims of espionage ahead of tomorrow crunch showdown. Instead, he smiled and said: "If it is the case the guy was sent to spy on us we would take that as a compliment - it shows that they must be a little worried about us."

However, privately, McLeish is understandably concerned about yesterday's bizarre events.

A close source said: "No one wants to be accused of paranoia but what happened yesterday was absolutely incredible.

"When some guy in shades and a hood is being chauffeured around the country in a Mercedes to record our closed-doors training sessions it does get you thinking!

"Whoever he was he will have learned nothing because we knew to be on the lookout after Record Sporttipped off big Alex - and this guy was not hard to spot!"

"I don't think this was Italy's answer to James Bond"

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