Former national boss McLeish will be working as a pundit for Sky Sports at our opening Group A match at Hampden tomorrow.
Big Eck is hoping to see his country kick off their bid to reach Brazil in two years' time with a morale-boosting victory over the visitors.
But the Scotland legend thinks Craig Levein's team will have their work cut out doing so – despite reports of unrest in the Serbian camp.
Talk is rife of disaffection being a serious problem in the opposition squad as a result of their controversial manager's methods.
Former Serie A star Sinisa Mihajlovic has used 30 players in four friendly games and has employed both a 3-4-3 and 4-3-3 formation.
However, McLeish feels Mihajlovic still has some awesome talent at his disposal and thinks Scotland will need to be at their very best to take all three points from their opening fixture.
"They are rebuilding," the ex-Rangers manager said. "But they have some very accomplished players who form the backbone of their team and have some good youngsters coming through.
"Serbia did not have a good World Cup in South Africa in 2010, losing two games and failing to make it out of the group stage after losing 2-1 to Australia. They also failed to qualify for Euro 2012.
"But they had a very productive campaign in qualifying for the World Cup and automatically progressed out of a very strong group. They still have many of the same players.
"They have Neven Subotic of Borussia Dortmund, who is a centre-half that Chelsea bid £17.5 million for. He has won the Bundesliga two seasons running with his club.
"Then they have Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea. He is their captain and is hugely experienced at international level. On top of that, they also have Aleksandar Kolarov of Manchester City.
"Yes, they're bringing young players in, but they certainly have talent there and we will have to perform to get the result we want to start off our campaign."
McLeish added: "Anyway, in international football today there is no easy fixture, home or away. Look at Moldova, who England will play in their opening this weekend.
"They are a so-called small footballing nation, but they pushed the Netherlands home and away in their qualifiers for the Euro 2012 finals.
"That just shows you that every competitive game you play in international football is demanding. Every game is a potential banana skin."
McLeish enjoyed a terrific record at Hampden during his own brief spell as Scotland manager in 2007; he won four games and lost just once at the world-famous Mount Florida venue.
His side beat some tricky opponents in that ill-fated European qualifying campaign including Georgia, Lithuania and Ukraine.
The team he represented 77 times as a player narrowly failed to make it into a play-off for the finals in Austria and Switzerland when they lost in contentious circumstances to Italy.
The ex-Motherwell, Hibs, Birmingham and Aston Villa gaffer believes Scotland can still spring a surprise or two against all the odds in their qualifying campaign.
He said: "We just need to keep our own counsel and go about our business as we always do. If we do that we always have a chance at Hampden.
"In the summer, David Brailsford, the head coach of the Great Britain cycling team that performed so well at the Olympics, talked about 'the aggregation of marginal gains'.
"He meant lots of things, the proper nutrition, utilising the best technology in the bikes and so on, coming together to make a difference. It highlighted that everything adds up to create success.
"When it comes to Scotland, the fans make a crucial difference. Visiting teams are intimidated by playing in front of a packed stadium filled with members of the Tartan Army."
McLeish continued: "I was very lucky when I took over as Scotland manager as Walter Smith had done a very good job before me. I inherited a good squad that was on the up.
"The team was on a roll at that time. You could feel an expectation, an optimism, in the side and in the stands every time the team took to the field."
McLEISH added: "If we can win the Serbia game, and possibly the Mace-donia match as well, then we will be able to build up some momentum and push on."
Serbia are the second seeds in our qualifying group just behind Croatia – but the side Big Eck is looking forward to seeing is the highly-rated Belgians.
Barring injuries, they will play Manchester City centre-half Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal and Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard, among many others, against Scotland next month.
McLeish said: "Belgium is a nation that has really emerged as a force in European football in the last few years. They are still very young, but they have gained so much experience in the last two or three years."