Ready to Go; I'll Make Way for the Kids If Dream Dies in Oslo, Insists McNamara

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SCOTLAND stalwart Jackie Mc Namara admitted yesterday that defeat in Norway would signal the end of his international career.

As Walter Smith's side arrived in Oslo for tomorrow night's crucial World Cup qualifier, the price of failure was never so clearly thrust into focus.

Win or bust is the simple scenario, with McNamara revealing that the latter would call time on his national service.

In a revealing interview in Sportsmail today, McNamara says: 'It is important for the national team that younger players come through. The next step for these guys is the step up. It would be a natural thing for me to step down as, in football terms, I have only a few years left, anyway.' Smith and his team know that nothing short of victory in all three remaining Group Five matches will be enough.

That task begins in the Ullevaal Stadium tomorrow, but it is one the national side confront with a new sense of optimism.

Saturday's spirited draw against Italy has provided a clear indication of the vast improvement since Smith's arrival. Yet the pressure has never been more intense nor the cost of failure so transparent.

Scotland will miss out on a [pounds sterling]5million bounty if they lose against Norway.

That would be the price of World Cup qualification failure for the SFA, with even a play- off out of reach for Smith's side in the event of defeat.

Hampden chief executive David Taylor outlined the cash on offer for reaching Germany, as Scotland sought to end the run of failure since Craig Brown led the side to France 98.

But the disastrous start under Berti Vogts - which yielded only two points from three games, two of them at Hampden - has come back to haunt the SFA hierarchy.

The [pounds sterling]5m figure would include the loss of a [pounds sterling] 1m pay- day from a sell-out playoff match at Hampden in November. …