International football returns this week with Scotland and Russia continuing their quest to reach the European Championships next summer.
Russia are in a comfortable position going into Friday’s game, currently sitting second having won three of their opening four games – losing only to Group I leaders Belgium.
Scotland, meanwhile, need a win to keep their hopes of qualifying from the group alive after two wins and two defeats. However, Steve Clarke’s men do have the insurance of a play-off spot gained through the Uefa Nations League.
Read on for our predictions, key players, TV info and team news ahead of Scotland vs Russia.
When is Scotland v Russia and where can I watch live?
Competition: European 2020 qualifying
Venue: Hampden Park
Date: Friday, 6 September
Kick-off: 7:45 PM BST
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Football
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Ones to watch
Scotland: Ryan Fraser
Scotland’s poor start to Group I, a 3-0 loss to Kazakhstan, came without Ryan Fraser over fears the artificial pitch could injure the Bournemouth winger. But when Scotland need him most, the 25-year-old is available and should be set to start for Steve Clarke. Although he is yet to get going in the Premier League after an impressive 2018/19 campaign, Fraser will be key to Scotland overcoming a tough Russia side.
Key stat: Ryan Fraser has created six chances in the Premier League so far this season.
Russia: Artem Dzyuba
Still going strong for Russia, Artem Dzyuba will be looking to strengthen his side’s chances of reaching Euro 2020 as we reach the halfway stage. The 31-year-old has scored five goals in four games during European qualifying so far, including four in a 9-0 rout over San Marino. A difficult man to defend against, such is his aerial prowess, Dzyuba will aim to cause Scotland’s centre-backs serious problems.
Key stat: Artem Dzyuba has scored 20 goals for Russia, more than any other player in the current squad.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke has recalled the likes of Steven Naismith and Robert Snodgrass to the squad this month, and the former is likely to lead the line against Russia.
At the back, with Scott McKenna out injured, either Liam Cooper or Grant Hanley will join Charlie Mulgrew at centre-back, with Andrew Robertson also returning.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Marshall; O’Donnell, Mulgrew, Hanley, Robertson; McLean, Armstrong, McTominay; McGregor, Naismith, Fraser.
Russia appear to have a full-strength squad to take to Hampden Park and will no doubt put out a side aiming to frustrate and ultimately beat Scotland. It would be no surprise if Russia stick with the same XI that beat Cyprus 1-0 back in June, with Dzyuba spearheading the attack.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Guilherme; Mario Fernandes, Semenov, Dzhikiya, Kudryashov; Ozdoev, Zobnin; Ionov, Golovin, Miranchuk; Dzyuba.
Scotland have won their last five competitive home matches, but that run looks set to come to an end against a good Russia side who have scored 14 goals without reply in their last three qualifiers.
Scotland 0-2 Russia