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Scotland look for some Georgia redemption

| 04.09.2015

Scotland make the long trip to Tbilsi desperate to claim a crucial Group D victory which would leave them with a fantastic opportunity to make it to Euro 2016.

They go into the match lying in third position, just behind Poland and Germany, as they hope to qualify for their first major tournament since the 1998 World Cup, ironically also in France.

This fixture will bring back some painful memories for Shaun Maloney and Darren Fletcher, the only survivors from the team who played here in 2007.

On that occasion the Tartan Army were dreaming of an unlikely qualification to Euro 2008, they had just done the unthinkable and beaten France in Paris, and three points would have put them on the brink. Instead it turned to heartbreak as they went down to a grim 2-0 reverse.

Scotland crumbled to a 2-0 defeat on their last visit to Tbilsi










It has been extremely lean times for the home side since this triumph though. In their following 35 competitive matches the Georgians have picked up a paltry four wins.

They sit in a lowly 147th position in the world rankings and the only points they have picked up in this group were against the minnows of Gibraltar. Germany, Poland and Ireland have all come here and left with a win and the pressure is on Scotland to do the same – where they are 21/20 to do so.

The visitors are a team on the up, showing steady improvement under the guidance of the patriotic and fiery Gordon Strachan.

They have only lost once in their last seven away games, and this came against the world champions in Dortmund, in a game in which they were hugely unlucky to leave empty handed.

This would traditionally be seen as the sort of fixture in which the Scots would struggle, with all the expectation on them. However, they appear to be made of steelier stuff these days and a blend of solid foundations and a fast and exciting front line should prove too much for their long suffering hosts.

It will be intriguing to see how Strachan lines his team up for this showdown. There is competition for places all over the pitch, especially up front. The chances are he will go with one out and out striker and he will have to choose between three options.

Leigh Griffiths is the man in form, the Celtic frontman is scoring goals for fun and was a star performer in Champions League action.

Steven Fletcher has impressed in the previous qualifying matches and is an impressive target man, however his lack of first team action with Sunderland may well count against him.

Steven Naismith is the third option, and you can be sure that he will always give you 100%. The Everton man has also found first team football hard to come by but seems to always save his best performances for national team duties.

Will Strachan keep faith with Steven Fletcher?













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Paul Fulton

Paul is a sporting all-rounder with a particular penchant for tennis, football and golf.
He has contributed to a number of publications, including the Edinburgh Evening News. Is most at home with a scotch pie and bovril in hand watching his beloved Hibs.