Scotland v Slovakia Predictions, Betting Tips and Previews
October 03, 2017
Hampden Park, Glasgow - World Cup Qualification Group F
Scotland welcome Slovakia to Hampden Park on Thursday night, knowing that a win will put them in an excellent position of securing a World Cup play-off spot
Scotland have Slovakia just once before in competitive action, at the start of this World Cup qualifying campaign, in the reverse of Thursday fixture in Trnava. Strachan's side were comfortably beaten that night, losing 3-0 thanks to goals from Robert Mak (2) and Adam Nemec, as their campaign got off to a miserable start.
Gordon Strachan's side include a host of Premier League regulars, with competition for place sin the starting line up stronger than it has been for some years. Liverpool defender Andrew Robertson is likely to start at left back, with Celtic's Kieran Tierney at right back, despite the latter playing on the left for his club side. Veteran midfielder Darren Fletcher returns to boost the Scottish midfield, having missed the last round of qualifiers, and he is joined by West Brom duo Matty Phillips and James Morrison.
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths will start up front for the Tartan Army, will the front man in excellent recent goal scoring form for the Glaswegians. His Celtic team mate Scott Brown misses out through injury, and he is joined by Newcastle's Matt Ritchie.
Slovakia will be captained by former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, now at Fenerbahce, and ex Manchester City forward Vladimir Weiss. Their star player amongst the Slovakia ranks will be Marek Hamsik, with the Napoli midfielder the highest scorer in their squad with 21 international goals
Scotland v Slovakia Preview and Predictions
Both sides are aware of the potential impact this game could have on their chances of securing a World Cup qualifying play-off spot, with England set to top Group F.
Scotland have brought themselves back into contention for a play-off following back to back wins in their last two qualifiers against Lithuania and Malta in September, alongside a morale boosting win at home to Slovenia and a draw at home to England- stretching their unbeaten qualifying run to four games.
That run of form has placed them in fourth in the Group F table, just a point behind Slovakia, who are in second.
Slovakia have also been in good form in recent qualifiers, losing just once- to England, and beating Lithuania, Malta and Slovenia ahead of Thursday's crunch game in Glasgow.
A win for Slovakia would remove Scotland's chances of qualifying, and a victory for Scotland would put them in the driving seat, without completely eliminating Slovakia.
This is likely to be very tight, with both sides very conscious of what is at stake, and home advantage could be the deciding factor here. With so little to pick between the sides, aside from the class of Hamsik, the power of Hampden could be vital to the Scottish cause.
A win, and likely a narrow one at that, is priced at 6/4.
Both sides have a goal threat in their team, and if one was to take an early lead, the other is likely to come out of the blocks after them, with that in mind an over 2.5 goals bet is priced at 5/4.
Scotland to win 2-1 at 17/2
Strachan's side have worked very hard to put themselves back into contention for qualification, and the momentum does appear to be with them ahead of this last round of qualifiers. The power of the home desperate to see their nation qualify for their first tournament since 1998, could be enough to edge Scotland a step closer to the play-offs. Slovakia will carry a threat, particularly through Hamsik, and Scotland will need to be mindful of that.
Leigh Griffiths to score first at 5/1
The Celtic front man netted in their last game, the 2-0 win over Malta, and he has been in good form for Brendan Rodgers SPL title holders so far this season, netting seven goals in all competitions so far. However his memorable double against England, that almost secured a famous win in June, will be on his mind as he tries to fire Scotland to glory.