Russia v Scotland
UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier
Thursday 10 October 2019, kick-off 7.45pm (UK Time)
Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
Scotland take their UEFA EURO 2020 campaign to Moscow on Thursday, where they will be keen to avenge September’s home defeat to hosts Russia as they look to secure third place in Group I.
With automatic qualification via the group stages now an improbability, Steve Clarke will be looking to build momentum and fine-tune tactics, as well as blood new talent, ahead of the play-off semi-final in March.
Clarke’s men lie in fifth place, a point behind Kazakhstan and Cyprus, and trail second placed Russia by nine points following the last round of fixtures. The Scots host pointless San Marino in the second of their international double header on Sunday.
Russia will go into the match full of confidence having followed up their 2-1 victory at Hampden with a late home win against Kazakhstan, snatching three points through Mario Fernandes’ last minute header.
Last month the Scots got off to a flier through John McGinn’s early goal – his first for Scotland – but were pegged back by strikes from Artem Dzyuba and Yuri Zhirkov.
Prior to that, Scotland have only ever played Russia on two occasions during qualification for UEFA EURO 96. In that campaign, there was nothing between the sides – a Scott Booth goal sealing a point at Hampden, with a goalless draw in the return fixture.
Uncapped trio Stuart Findlay, Declan Gallagher and Lawrence Shankland are all in the squad, Shankland rewarded with a first call up thanks to his goal-scoring exploits for Dundee United.
👋 A good first day of training with some new faces in the squad. pic.twitter.com/IBjFutO4bR— Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) October 7, 2019
Kilmarnock’s Findlay replaces the injured Liam Cooper in the party, whilst Gallagher takes his place for the first time after withdrawals from Grant Hanley and Ryan Jack.
John Fleck will be hoping to win his first cap after some strong performances for Premier League newcomers Sheffield United this season, while Sheffield Wednesday’s Liam Palmer returns to the squad after missing the Russia and Belgium fixtures in September.
Oliver Burke is recalled after forcing his way into the Alaves side last month following a loan move from West Bromwich Albion.
James Forrest was the hero of last year’s UEFA Nations League campaign, netting a double away to Albania before a heroic hat-trick in the 3-2 Hampden win over Israel that clinched Scotland’s play-off slot. He said: “It’s going to be a hard game. We saw it was difficult at Hampden so going out there, it’s going to be very hard.
“It’s massively important we go into the Nations League play off with high confidence and it starts with the game in Russia.
“We’re building towards the play offs and it’s good for the manager and all the players that we’ve got these four games to try and get some positive results and take that into March.
“We knew that Russia have really good players and they have guys playing in the Champions League. They came and did really well at Hampden so we know it’s going to be a difficult game.”
Where to watch
The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, with BBC Radio Scotland providing live radio commentary. Kick-off for the match is at 7.45pm (UK time) on Thursday night.
Updates will also be available via the official @ScotlandNT Twitter account.