Scotland travel to Russia on Thursday in what is a must-win Euro 2020 qualifier.
Steve Clarke’s side have won just two of their six games so far and suffered humiliating, back-to-back defeats at home to Russia and Belgium – 1-2 and 0-4, respectively – last time out.
Stanislav Cherchesov’s side have won five of their six games so far and another victory on Thursday would knock Scotland out of contention for automatic qualification.
Can the Scots keep their Euro 2020 hopes alive? Read on for our preview, predictions, team news and TV coverage information.
When is Russia vs Scotland and where can I watch live?
Competition: Euro 2020 qualifier
Venue: Luzhniki Stadium
Date: Thursday, 10 October 2019
Kick-off: 7:45 PM BST
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Football
Previous meetings: Russia vs Scotland
06 Sep 2019: Scotland 1-2 Russia (Euro 2020 qualifier)
29 Mar 1995: Russia 0-0 Scotland (Euro 96 qualifier)
16 Nov 1994: Scotland 1-1 Russia (Euro 96 qualifier)
Aggregate Score: Russia (WDD) 3-2 Scotland (LDD)
Ones to watch
Russia: Artem Dzyuba
Artem Dzyuba scored the equaliser in Russia’s 2-1 win at Hampden Park in September and his total in Euro 2020 qualifying so far stands at six – level with Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling, while only Eran Zahavi has more (9).
The 31-year-old was also something of a hero during Russia’s 2018 World Cup campaign last year and although his approach is a little robust and old school, he really is a handful.
Whoever lines up at the back for Scotland had better be ready for a rough old night.
Key stat: Dzyuba has been directly involved in eight goals during his last five appearances for Russia.
Scotland: John McGinn
Scotland and Aston Villa – notwithstanding their 5-1 win over Norwich at the weekend – have generally struggled this season but one man who has pulled through for both is John McGinn.
The midfielder already has three goals and an assist in the Premier League and also opened the scoring for the Scots during their 2-1 defeat to Russia in September.
McGinn is an all-action box-to-box midfielder who is bang in form right now. If Scotland are to beat Russia for the first time and keep their Euro 2020 hopes alive, he will be vital.
Key stat: McGinn has made more tackles (26) and completed more dribbles (18) in the Premier League than any other Aston Villa player this season.
Fedor Smolov, Roman Zobnin and Rifat Zhemaletdinov have all withdrawn from the latest squad through injury but former Chelsea full-back Yuri Zhirkov continues to look evergreen in a Russia shirt and should start.
Aleksey Ionov should line up on the right wing in the absence of Anton Miranchuk.
Predicted XI: Guilherme; Fernandes, Semenov, Dzhikiya, Zhirkov; Ozdoev, Akhmetov; Ionov, Golovin, Cheryshev; Dzyuba.
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Grant Hanley, Liam Cooper, Ryan Jack and Oliver McBurnie have all withdrawn from the squad through injury, while Man Utd midfielder Scott McTominay is suspended.
Lawrence Shankland could ease Clarke’s striker woes after netting 13 goals in eight Scottish Championship games so far Dundee United.
Predicted XI: Marshall; O’Donnell, Palmer, Mulgrew, Robertson; Forrest, McGregor, McLean, McGinn, Fraser; Shankland.
Scotland really, really need this, but as we know, they have a great history of failure. Furthermore, without a recognised top-flight striker in the group, Clarke may very well be scratching his head and wondering where the goals will come from.
Russia have proven themselves incredibly hard opponents to beat since last year’s World Cup and haven’t let up since then. Expect Dzyuba, Golovin and Co to wreak havoc once again.
Scoreline prediction: Russia 3-0 Scotland.