Knowing that anything short of a victory and a minor miracle can keep alive their EURO 2020 qualification dreams, a Scotland side low on both form and confidence will travel to Russia on Thursday night.
Suffering a 4-0 hammering against Belgium last month, The Tartan Armey have now lost their last three Group I outings and Steve Clarke’s side now sit eight points adrift of their hosts with just four matches remaining.
On the flip side, while Scotland might be in the midst of a crisis, Russia find themselves enjoying a continued purple patch and have now all but secured a spot at next year’s European Championships.
Winning each of their last five Group I appearances and yet to taste defeat since their opening fixture back in March, Stanislav Cherchesov’s men also have some pleasant memories in their previous meeting against Thursday’s guests.
When the two nations met last month, the Reds secured a 2-1 win in Glasgow and you might be interested to know that an identical scoreline can be found at 15/2 with Bet365.
The high-flying Russians
Securing a famous quarter-final finish at last year’s World Cup finals on home soil, Russia have embarked on quite the 12 months.
Picking up a 1-0 win over Kazakhstan last month to build off of their victory over Scotland on foreign soil, Head Coach Stanislav Cherchesov has seen his men enjoy a five-match winning run in Group I.
With their only defeat coming against Belgium, the Reds will know that a victory in midweek will see them land an automatic route to next year’s European Championships.
Holding a commanding eight-point buffer over the chasing pack, Russia can be found at 8/15 with 888sport to extend their winning run in Moskva.
One man to keep an eye out for in midweek will be leading marksman and skipper, Artem Dzyuba.
Opening his Champions League account for Zenit last month, the 31-year-old Russian icon also managed to find the net at Hampden last month and should be confident of extending on his qualifying tally.
Dzyuba already has six in six in Group I and is pencilled in at 23/20 with Ladbrokes to once again find the net on Thursday night.
Steve Clarke’s international headache
Suffering a humiliating 4-0 hammering at home to world number one’s Belgium last month, new Scotland boss Steve Clarke has publically spoken about the struggles of adjusting to international management.
Heavily criticized after their infamous 3-0 defeat away at Kazakhstan back in March, Thursday’s guests have now lost their last three matchups on the bounce and are showing some glaring defensive issues.
Shipping three or more goals in each of their previous three defeats, the Scots can be found at 4/5 with Coral to once again ship over 2.5 goals at the RZD Arena.
Knowing nothing short of a miracle can help them end their major tournament exile, The Tartan Army are priced as high as 20/1 with Bet365 to secure a top-two finish in Group I.
Sadly for Thursday’s traveling support, they have also seen a number of their more experienced stars have to withdraw from their trip to Russia.
Last week, Kilmarnock defender Stuart Findlay replaced Liam Cooper after the Leeds United captain picked up a groin injury, while Gallagher, 28, was called up on Sunday as Grant Hanley and Ryan Jack pulled out.