It’s a huge match in the European Championship Qualification, as Scotland host Russia in Group I. The match will take place on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm local time in Hampden Park, Glasgow. Scotland will need to win this match to give themselves a far better opportunity at qualifying for the finals next summer. Can they stun Russia?

Home Team: Scotland

Scotland manager Steve Clark took over what was quite simply a mess at the national team. Previous manager Alex McLeish did win his UEFA Nations Group last winter, so therefore Scotland can guarantee themselves a play-off position even if they don’t finish in the top three of this qualification group. However, when trying to automatically qualify for the tournament, Scotland were embarrassed as they lost 3-0 away to Kazakhstan in one of the country’s biggest ever low points. Steve Clark won his first game in charge, following two great goals from captain and key player Andy Robertson, before Oliver Burke scored the stoppage-time winner against Cyprus. However, they were given a reality check when facing Belgium, as they lost 3-0 away. It’s an uphill task to get in the top two now, but a win here would change their outlook on things drastically.

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Away Team: Russia

Russia were written off by their home fans even before a ball was kicked at the last World Cup, but they surprised everyone by reaching the quarter finals, and were a whisker a way of reaching the semi-finals. In a tournament where they knocked out Spain, the whole country had faith in the Russian team once again, as they now bid to qualify for the European Championships. They didn’t top their UEFA Nations group, so a play-off position won’t be there if they fail to finish in the top two. However, finishing behind Belgium looks a strong possibility, particularly, as they have started the campaign with three wins out of four – losing only to Belgium. Aleksandr Golovin and Artem Dzyuba, well-known following their performances at the World Cup last year, will pose the threat to Scotland’s team, as Russia will hope for a fourth consecutive victory in the group.

Head to Head

It’s quite remarkable that the teams have only ever met twice in their history, and on both occasions they finished in a draw. The two meetings occurred when were drawn in the same group for the European Championship qualifications for Euro 1996. The first meeting in Glasgow finished 1-1, with the reverse fixture finishing 0-0. As we know, Scotland and Russia both went on to qualify for that tournament, but both also failed to progress from the group stage. Scotland haven’t qualified for a European Championships since, whereas Russia have qualified for all of them.

My Predictions and Betting Tips

Scotland are at 19/10 to win, with Russia edging out as favourites at 17/10. For the sides to draw, that is at 19/10. As you can see from the odds, it’s literally 33/33/33 on what the outcome of this fixture will be. Scotland’s Hampen Park will be rocking, and the team seems to be rejuvenated since the new arrival of the manager, but Russia are no slouches, and won’t want to get turned over.

If I had to pick a winner, I’d choose Russia, but I will opt for a draw here. My score line prediction is a 2-2 draw at a generous 18/1. Oliver McBurnie is the most likely scorer for the hosts at 12/5 to score at any time, with Artem Dzyuba priced at 11/8 to score in the 90 minutes. Backing both teams to score at 11/10 should be considered, as well as backing a draw with over 2.5 goals in the match at 16/1.

Finally, another tip for the high risk high reward bettors, would be to back a Russia/Draw HT/FT bet at 16/1.

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