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Tough International Week Coming Up For Scotland

Date: 5th September 2019

Before I discuss the Scotland men’s team, I think it’s only right that we start by praising the women’s side. 

We heard a lot about inquests and disagreements after they were knocked out of their first World Cup this summer. The squad and the management team recently held clear the air talks before kicking off the Euro 2021 qualifiers. 

It clearly worked wonders as the women recorded a fine 8-0 win over Cyprus at Easter Road last week. Kim Little was once again the star of the show, netting five times!

The ladies have once again shown the men the way to put the team first and gain positive results. 

Now it’s not going to be easy for Steve Clarke’s men this week. First up the Tartan Army entertain Russia at Hampden on Friday night before the take on group favourites Belgium in Glasgow on Monday. 

Belgium have a 100% winning record in their opening four fixtures and they’re certainly on course to top Group I. Russia have won three out of their four games, with the Belgians beating them in March. 

Scotland have already tasted defeat to Belgium earlier in the campaign and if they can even get a draw with the World Cup semi-finalist at home then that will be seen as a bonus point. Although it should be noted that we don’t have to worry about Eden Hazard, with the world class attacker missing due to a muscle injury. 

I believe the first game against the Russian side could already be seen as a must win for the Scots, after we were humiliated in Kazakstan in their opening outing. The Scottish side will need to make up for those unexpected lost points and they need to try and peg their opponents back. 

It isn’t going to be an easy task though. Russia surprised plenty as they did well in the World Cup they hosted last summer. They qualified from their group and then knocked out Spain in the round 16 tie. They eventually lost out to finalists Croatia in the quarter final stage, losing on penalties.  

Giant forward Artem Dzyuba will be a big threat up top. The powerful hitman has scored twenty international goals in thirty-six appearances, including five strikes this year. 

Scotland have plenty of midfield options and winning the midfield battle in these big games could be crucial. 

Stopping goals and scoring ourselves could be our main issues.

Manager Steve Clarke is still finding his feet and injuries have meant that his defence isn’t at it’s strongest. Up top our top scorer is Steven Naismith, who has nine goals. The Hearts man has had his own injury problems this year and I doubt he could play two games in a row and certainly don’t believe he can lead the line for a full ninety minutes. We really need someone to step up and bang in the important goals!

It will be interesting to see how Clarke sets up his team and how they approach these two games. I don’t think we’ll go gung-ho but we have to try and push forward, especially in the game against Russia.

If we could get four points from these two important qualifiers then that would be amazing. As a Scotland fan we are pretty pessimistic about our chances but always hold out hope, and I’m hoping we can get the results needed to get us closer to qualification!  

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