Scotland v Kazakhstan – Hampden Park at 19:45 GMT live at Sky Sports
Scotland are still a “work in progress” according to head coach Steve Clarke despite securing a welcome 2-1 victory in Cyprus on Saturday during Euro 2020 qualification. Goals by Ryan Christie and John McGinn bumped the Scots up to third in Group I with March’s play-offs now coming into focus.
Christie’s strike gave Scotland the lead, with McGinn adding a second after former Premiership player Georgios Efrem had hauled the hosts level. Clarke revealed his delight at his side’s reaction to conceding an equaliser; it comes after Scotland capitulated after conceding the opener against Russia during the last international break and the boss feels it’s a sign of how far they’ve come.
Scotland did have rocky moments in the game, with an Efrem effort when the game was goalless appearing to cross the line after striking the crossbar and Cyprus coach Ran Ben Shimon was less content, though, suggesting that the “team that tried to play football lost this game”.
Clarke’s makeshift team battled hard in a game that lacked a lot of quality. Nevertheless, beating Kazakhstan on Tuesday would mark a third successive triumph for the side for the first time in two years, bolstering confidence ahead of decisive play-off battles in the Spring.
An opportunity for revenge
Attention now turns towards Hampden Park and the visit of Kazakhstan. Scotland started their qualifying campaign with an embarrassing 3-0 humbling in Astana under previous boss Alex McLeish and revenge will certainly be in the air as the home side bid to appease the Tartan Army following that abject effort.
Recent form has gone awry but the Scots remain a reasonable force at their Glaswegian base. Since 2005, Scotland’s only competitive home defeats have come against Belgium, Russia, Spain, Italy, Germany and Netherlands with the hosts’ returning W19-D7-L1 from the remaining 27 games, losing only to Wales.
Therefore, quotes of 1.74 – odds that imply only a 58% chance of success – to overcome Kazakhstan appeal on Tuesday night. The visitors overcame whipping boys San Marino last time out but didn’t manage to keep a clean sheet in that contest and have won only four meaningful matches on the road since 2001.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Scotland -0.50 at 1.740
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