Kazakhstan v Scotland Betting Tips: First win for McLeish’s men?
Betting preview and odds for Group I clash
Scotland begin their Euro 2020 qualification campaign with a long-haul trip to face Kazakhstan at the Astana Arena this afternoon.
Alex McLeish’s men haven’t been to the Euros since 1996. But they’ve got a better chance than ever to make amends in a group which also contains Belgium, Cyprus, Russia and San Marino.
Two countries will go through from Group I, and it all gets underway live on Sky Sports Main Event from 2:30pm.
There’s not much to glean from the head-to-head record, mainly because the two sides have never met on the international stage. In fact this will be only Kazakhstan’s third ever match against a side from the British Isles.
England are the other opponent they’ve faced from these shores. The Three Lions won both previous clashes 5-1 and 4-0 during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.
McLeish has all kinds of headaches ahead of this one, with no fewer than seven first-team players missing. Premier League duo Andrew Robertson and Ryan Fraser are both on the missing list, while Barry Bannan and Charlie Mulgrew are out injured.
That could mean starts for the likes of Liam Kelly, John Fleck, Liam Palmer and Scott McTominay, who will partner captain Callum McGregor in a defensive midfield two. Graeme Shinnie is poised to come in at left-back.
Swansea City star Oli McBurnie could get the nod up-front in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Kazakhstan are expected to match-up in the same way.
This match basically comes down to how offensive Scotland want to be. If they take the game to their hosts, as they’ve tended to do on the road of late, they probably win.
Their cause is helped by Kazakhstan’s poor defensive record. The Hawks conceded two or more goals in eight of their 10 World Cup qualifiers prior to the 2018 tournament. However, Michal Bilek’s men won’t be afraid of getting amongst it.
They’ll take heart from a weakened Scotland side and look to impose themselves on the match through Islambek Kuat and Serikzhan Muzhikov. McTominay’s performance will be key as a result.
So too will whoever starts up-front for Scotland. Whether it’s McNulty, Oliver Burke or McBurnie, Scottish forwards have been guilty of wasting chances in the past. That can’t happen again here.
McNulty, Burke and McBurnie are 9/5 apiece to score anytime, although it could be worth siding with James Forrest. The Celtic winger has five goals in his last two matches at international level. He’s 16/5 anytime or 28/1 to score 2 or more.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing