Miller's plea for Scots to turn team spirit into success
22:05 GMT, 25 May 2012
Kenny Miller has warned his Scotland team-mates that they have to get things right on, as well as off, the pitch.
The captain for Saturday night's end-of-season friendly in the United States, the Cardiff City striker says the week-long trip to Florida has been hugely beneficial.
A team meeting in Orlando earlier this week witnessed Craig Levein's squad reach agreement on matters such as dress code and diet for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Taking it easy: Kenny Miller prepares for the friendly clash with the USA
However, Miller believes the consultation process will be a waste of time unless the decisions reached bring results on the pitch and a strong start to the race for Brazil.
'That was the one thing that came out of a team meeting the other night – results and performances now have to improve,' Miller said.
'It's all very well saying we're coming away and being comfortable among each other and working for the gaffer and we all love being around each other – but we have to deliver now.
'Ultimately, we have to get the results right and this campaign is going to be a big one for us.
'There's no doubt we have made progress. We have a lot of good players, we have a manager the lads want to work with – but that counts for nothing if we don't win.
Earning respect by showing respect:
Scotland manager Craig Levein
'We have to pull all the team spirit together and translate that into results and performances. We have to do that so we have the best chance of having a right good campaign.'
Along with missing squad captain Darren Fletcher and defender Gary Caldwell, Miller is one of the senior players Levein consults with regularly.
'The manager has included us in all the chats,' Miller revealed. 'We had a team meeting the other night and, while it might not seem important to get things like dress code sorted, it becomes an issue with the boys.
'A thing as simple as wearing tracksuits when you are on a nine-hour flight – you don't want to be having to wear a suit and tie for that travel time – is important.
'They are small things but the fact the gaffer is open to letting the players have a say is a big help.
'He allows all the lads to have a voice. Everyone has a chance to say what they want, when they want to train, how we train, what we eat. That's helped create a good club atmosphere around the place.
'He gives us respect – and gets that in return. It makes players want to play for him and that's important in any squad.'
Levein, meanwhile, insists he is reluctant to make wholesale changes in Jacksonville on Saturday – for fear of disrupting the momentum his side are building up.
Wary of the intense heat, the Scotland boss will start Shaun Maloney and new cap Matt Phillips, with Allan McGregor in goal.
Expected to start: Shaun Maloney
Beyond that, however, he was non-committal, saying: 'We went down to training on Wednesday night and Peter Houston said it was 96 degrees.
'I know come 8pm (1am UK time), it will have calmed down. But I think this will be a game for using substitutes, although I have not made any commitments to changes yet.
'I discovered fairly early that, because international games do not come around that often, they are hugely significant.
'Even the friendlies become a focal point and I don't want to toss away any games by being frivolous or experimenting.
'It has taken a long time to get a system where everybody knows what they are supposed to be doing.
'I also found as well that, if you lose an international match – be it even a friendly – it is a big thing. If it had been a club, you would be able to remedy it pretty quickly.
'But I would like us to be playing our game in August while building on confidence from this one.'
The latest FIFA rankings show the hosts to be rated as 29th in the world, while the Scots trail behind in 48th spot.
Levein added: 'This will be a tough match. They are well above us in the rankings, they are an experienced team, they've got all their best players here and they are preparing for qualifiers.
'There are a lot of things in this game that go against us but I have great confidence in this group of boys to do well.'