No Easy Ride For Scots Against Georgia
Scotland v Georgia
Scotland began their campaign with an admirable performance in Germany but now need to put points on the board against Georgia…
Scotland took plenty from defeat in their opening Euro 2016 qualifying game in Germany as Gordon Strachan’s men matched the World Champions for large parts of the game.
The defeat was Scotland’s first loss in seven matches and they have not been beaten on Scottish soil in over a year. Strachan now boasts a 46% win ratio as national team boss having won six and drawn two of his 13 games in charge. There is definite progress being made under the former Celtic manager and qualification for a first major tournament since 1998 is a realistic target.
Striker Steven Fletcher ended an extended barren spell in front of goal with a brace for Sunderland at the weekend, while Steven Naismith scored his fourth Everton goal of the season at Old Trafford.
Georgia’s opening game of the campaign ended in heartbreak as they conceded a 90th minute goal to lose 2-1 at home to Ireland. Temuri Ketsbaia’s men have now failed to win any of their previous seven competitive matches and have only beaten Saudi Arabia and Liechtenstein in their last 11 outings including friendlies.
On the flip side, they haven’t been beaten by more than two goals in any of their last nine matches as they put up brave displays against France (0-0) and Spain (0-2) in the past year.
Fletcher’s two goals at the weekend may be enough to earn him a recall to the starting XI, where he would be expected to start alongside the in-form Steven Naismith. Allan McGregor was ruled out with a shoulder problem and has been replaced in the squad by Burnley’s Matt Gilks.
Georgia captain Jaba Kankave will earn his 50th international cap; of those in the squad no player has scored more than the paltry four he has managed for his country.
Georgia won 2-0 when the sides met most recently back in 2007 in qualification for Euro 2008. Scotland did, however, win the meeting at Hampden, 2-1 thanks to goals from Kris Boyd and Craig Beattie.
Given the improvement that we have seen in Scotland over recent months, the 4/6 about a home win looks fair enough, although admittedly not something to get overly excited about. Georgia are a 9/2 chance and the draw is priced at 5/2.
The Georgians are capable of at least keeping things tight, however, and Strachan’s men will need to be patient.
Draw-Scotland at odds of 10/3 in the Half Time-Full Time market looks to be a good play, as does the half time draw at odds of 11/10.