Alex McLeish's men were yesterday pitted against Holland, Norway, Macedonia and Iceland, with the winners going through to the 2010 finals in South Africa and the eight best runners-up out of nine groups taking part in play-offs.

And, after the last-gasp Euro 2008 defeat by Italy last weekend, McCulloch is determined to go one better.

"This is not a group that should scare Scotland," the Rangers player told the Daily Record.

"Maybe two years ago we'd have looked at it and got frightened by the prospect.

"But things have changed. We have a team again now and we really believe in ourselves.

"We were devastated not to make Euro 2008 but we came close from an almost impossible group.

"This group is not going to be easy but if we work as hard as we did in the last section then I truly believe we can do it.

"The whole country is behind us again and it really is about time that we stopped falling short."

Holland coach Marco Van Basten is well aware of Scottish football's recent improvement.

"I watched the Italy game last week and I was very impressed," he said.

"Over the course of the group for Euro 2008 Scotland had a good points total, so we have to be careful against them - they have a good squad.

"Celtic and Rangers are going further in the Champions League and my old club AC Milan lost in Glasgow recently."

Norway boss Age Hareide is excited at the prospect of a trip to Glasgow and believes his team and the Scots will battle it out for second place.

"Hampden is the best arena in Europe - maybe the best in the world," he said. "The atmosphere is always fantastic there and my players will be lifted by that.

"We had the chance to reach the Euro 2008 finals and, like Scotland, we suffered disappointment at the end. We lost at home to Turkey.

"For a team which starts as third seeds, being drawn against Scotland is good for us.

"We always enjoy our games against them and there is never much between us."

Iceland boss Olafur Johannesson is eyeing an upset against the Scots.

"We have a chance of achieving a result against Scotland, especially in Reykjavik," he said.

"I am aware of James McFadden and, of course, the captain Barry Ferguson is a very good player.

"But we also have good players, like Eidur Gudjohnsen."