Qualification for Euro 2024 continues this weekend as Scotland travel to face Cyprus at the AEK Arena in Group A on Friday night.
Scotland’s lightning start
Steve Clarke’s Scotland have made a fantastic start to their qualification campaign as they look to seal a place at back-to-back European Championships after their group stage exit at Euro 2020.
Scotland sit top Group A with maximum points and they’ll look to consolidate their advantage against Cyprus.
The campaign began with a 3-0 home win against Cyprus before a headline-grabbing 2-0 triumph at home to Spain followed courtesy of two strikes from Scott McTominay.
A dramatic come from behind success away to Norway was backed up last time out by a 2-0 win over Georgia to leave Scotland on 12 points heading into the trip to Cyprus with an 8-point lead over Georgia in second.
A win over Cyprus could take Scotland 11 points clear of third if results go their way, virtually guaranteeing their place at next summer’s tournament.
Cyprus slow out the blocks
By contrast, Cyprus are bottom of the group having lost all three of their games so far.
A defeat to Friday’s opponents in their opener was followed by a 2-1 home loss to Georgia and a 3-1 reverse away against Norway.
They are still only 4 points off second place but have to face Spain twice in their remaining games, so qualifying looks like a tall order. A win here could take them off the bottom of Group A depending on other results
Steve Clarke has a fully-fit squad to choose from against Cyprus so the visitors could line up in the same 5-3-2 shape as against Georgia.
Ryan Porteous, Jack Hendry and Kieran Tierney will play at centre-half with Brentford’s Aaron Hickey and Liverpool’s Andy Robertson providing the width.
Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor and Billy Gilmour will support John McGinn and Lyndon Dykes upfront.
Pieros Sotiriou will lead Cyprus’s attack and Grigoris Kastanos and Ioannis Kousoulos will provide the legs in midfield of a 5-4-1 shape.
Charalambos Charalambous and Kostas Pileas will be charged with providing support and ammunition for the striker from the flanks
Likely lineups and prediction
Antoniou, Gogic, Laifis, Ioannou, Correia
Charalambous, Kousoulos, Kastanos, Pileas
Hickey, Porteous, Hendry, Tierney, Robertson
McTominay, Gilmour, McGregor
Cyprus will provide tricky opposition for Scotland but the momentum the Scots enjoy from their fantastic start to the group should carry them through here.