In the small hours of Wednesday morning, Alex McLeish’s Scotland side will play their first ever match on Peruvian soil – with the intention of spoiling a party.
The match is Peru’s last on home ground before they participate in the FIFA World Cup – the first they have qualified for since 1982 – and has attracted huge interest from the locals with more than 700,000 applications for tickets for this match.
The game will be McLeish’s third since he took charge of Scotland for the second time, having lost to Costa Rica and beaten Hungary in March.
Though Scotland are missing several regular players for this end-of-season tour to Peru and Mexico, the matches represent an opportunity for a number of younger players to stake a claim for the forthcoming UEFA Nations League, which begins in September.
Scotland have no injury concerns going into the match, though Sporting Kansas City forward Johnny Russell is unavailable due to his club playing on the same night as the Peru match. He will join up with the squad for the Mexico game.
The squad features nine uncapped players, with Stephen O’Donnell, Lewis Stevenson, Chris Cadden, Dylan McGeouch, Graeme Shinnie, Lewis Morgan, Jordan Archer, Scott Bain and Jon McLaughlin all looking to make their debut.
Peru will be missing their talismanic captain Paolo Guerrero, who saw his ban for testing positive for traces of cocaine increased to 14 months last week, meaning he will miss the World Cup.
Thoughts of the players
Celtic centre half Jack Hendry only made his Scotland debut in the team’s last match against Hungary, but immediately looked at home on the international stage.
“It’s good to get the lads training that have maybe not been with each other before and it’s been a an enjoyable few days getting the group to gel with the extra time we have had.
“The week’s preparation is vital for the lads to get to know each other and I’m sure that will put us in good stead going into the game.
“Obviously Peru are going to the World Cup – I’ve seen their past results and watched clips of them and it’s definitely going to be a tough task, but those are the types of games you want to play in.
“We’re in South America playing against a new style which will be beneficial for the players’ development and I’m sure the lads will take a lot of experience from it.
“It’s a younger group as well and that will put us in good stead if we are called upon in the qualifiers coming up.
“You want to be playing against these types of teams that are going to the World Cup – that’s what we have got to aim for and the level we have to strive to be at.”
Thoughts of the coaching staff
Scotland assistant coach James McFadden is no stranger to long-distance tours with the national team, having made his Scotland debut against South Africa in the Far East on an end-of-season tour.
“Training has gone well – it’s been tough traveling but the boys have been very responsive, looked sharp and bright. It’s been a good standard, as you would expect.
“A longer tour is better preparation because you can acclimatise – you don’t need to rush training and you can get out if it what you need.
“The first few days have been about building up the intensity with the next few days about shape, tactics and formation.
“It’s been great to get a full weeks preparation going into a game, which is something you don’t usually get in international football.
“Peru are a good side, they’re going to a World Cup. They’ve got some good players, they like to press high and are a threat going forward.
“They will be dangerous, but we’ve got players we think can deal with that and we want to go and try to implement our own game plan and win the game.
“We want to come here and try to find players that are available and who will maybe be ready to step into the team come the Nations League.
“But first we want to win the game and that will start with a good performance on Tuesday night.”
Where will the game be played?
The match will be played at the Peruvian national stadium, the Estadio Nacional in Lima. The stadium has a capacity of 40,000, was first built in 1952 and was renovated in 2011.
How have Peru fared recently?
Peru are currently at an all-time high in the FIFA world rankings, sitting just outside the top ten in 11th position.
They are unbeaten in ten matches, with their last defeat coming at the hands of Brazil in November 2016. Since then they have recorded impressive victories against Uruguay, Croatia and Iceland and held both Argentina and Colombia to draws.
Their last match saw them run out 3-1 winners against Iceland in a match played at a neutral venue in New York, having defeated Croatia 2-0 in Miami four days earlier.
They secured their place at the World Cup through the OFC v CONMEBOL play-off after finishing fifth in South American qualifying. They defeated New Zealand 2-0 on aggregate to advance to Russia.
Who are the key players for Peru?
With captain Paolo Guerrero suspended, the spotlight will fall on winger Jefferson Farfan to provide some magic. The 33-year old winger has enjoyed a successful career, spending 11 years in Europe, first at PSV and then Schalke. He now plays for Lokomotiv Moscow after an unsuccessful spell in Abu Dhabi.
He has 81 caps for Peru, with 21 goals, four of them coming during qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Though the bulk of the Peruvian squad play in the Americas, it does have a number of players who ply their trade in Europe. Edison Flores plays for Aalborg in Denmark and scored five goals in qualifying, while André Carrillo will be familiar to fans of English football after spending this season playing for Watford.
Previous meetings between Scotland and Peru
The two nations have only faced each other three times, though not since 1979, with the record currently balanced on a knife edge.
The first meeting between the nations came in 1972, when Scotland ran out 2-0 victors in an International Challenge Match at Hampden Park.
The only competitive meeting between the two sides came in 1978, at the FIFA World Cup in Argentina. Though the Scots took the lead through an early Joe Jordan goal, Peru ultimately ran out 3-1 winners, in a match that has gone down in infamy within Scottish circles.
The last meeting between the two sides saw Asa Hartford’s early strike cancelled out late on, with the match ending 1-1 in front of 41,000 people at Hampden Park.
Where can you watch it?
The match will be shown live on BBC One Scotland at 2am on Wednesday, 30 May.
To purchase your membership of the Scotland Supporters Club, visit https://tickets.scottishfa.co.uk