Scotland visit Albania for a crucial UEFA Nations League Group C1 showdown where victory will put them in pole position to qualify.
A defeat here then victory over Israel on Tuesday night meanwhile creates a mathematical conundrum.
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Scotland head to Eastern Europe with a heavily depleted squad as Celtic’s Kieran Tierney became the ninth withdrawal from their squad.
Those absentees include Craig Gordon, Ryan Jack, John McGinn, Kevin McDonald and Charlie Mulgrew.
Steven Naismith and Tom Cairney meanwhile are amongst a few who weren’t selected in initial squad announcement due to injuries.
Albania have called up two Scottish based players in Livingston’s Egli Kaja and Eros Grezda to their squad.
- Scotland won their home leg 2-0 in September against Albania.
- The Scots have scored in all of their last three competitive away games with six different goal scorers, of which just Stuart Armstrong and Andrew Robertson feature in current squad.
- Albania haven’t scored in last three, losing their last two Nations League matches 2-0 in between a goalless draw with Jordan.
Given their defensive crisis, I am struggling to see how Scotland can win this as Albania will see their back as an easy target.
Victory is all the more important here as for Scotland, it would set up a huge winner takes all showdown with Israel on Tuesday night. Lose then they must beat Israel to place all three teams on six points where things will get complicated in deciding who is promoted and relegated.
Ultimately, I can see the defence being Scotland’s downfall although their attack is of higher level than Albania.
Prediction: Albania 2-0 Scotland
Result: Albania 0-4 Scotland