Scotland - Estonia Preview: Strachan looking to get his reign off to a winning start
The ex-Celtic manager will be hoping for a positive opening to his spell in control after taking over following Craig Levein's axing, with Scott Brown his first captain
By Shane Farrington
Hutton, Caldwell, Berra, Mulgrew
Naismith, Brown, Adam, Snodgrass
Rahn, Kruglov, Klavan, Jaager
Puri, Vassiljev, Purje, Kams
Gordon Strachan has a strong squad at his disposal for his first match since taking over the role. A host of Premier League names, including Charlie Adam and Steven Fltecher are set to feature.
Celtic midfielder Scott Brown has been named captain but club team-mate James Forrest will not be selected after his manager opted to rest him.
The ex-Middlesbrough boss has an exciting set of striking options from which to choose despite Ross McCormack's withdrawal through illness - with Fletcher, Jordan Rhodes and Kenny Miller all battling for starting berths.
As for the visitors, Tarmo Ruutli has named a mixture of veteran and inexperienced players for the match. In particular, he has plenty of experience in defence with Dmitri Kruglov, Ragnar Klavan and Enar Jaager having made more than 80 appearances for their country.
Motherwell striker Henrik Ojamaa is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench with Andres Oper and Tarmo Kink filling the two striking spots.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Scotland currently sit 69th in Fifa's latest world rankings. Their highest-ever rating was back in October 2007 when they were listed 13th.
- New boss Gordon Strachan (pictured right) scored five times in 50 caps for Scotland during his playing days.
- The country's joint-top scorers are Kenny Dalglish and Denis Law on 30 apiece, with Kenny Miller the closest of the current squad with 17 goals to his name.
Miller is 9/2 with Paddy Power to score the last goal in this game.
- Estonia have won two of their last six matches - a 1-0 World Cup 2014 qualification win over Andorra and a 2-1 victory against Oman in a friendly.
- They currently occupy 83rd spot the Fifa rankings, having previously risen as high as 47th back in March 2012.
- Martin Reim is Estonia's most-capped player - making 157 appearances and scoring 14 times between 1992-2009.
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Top 3 Predictions
Scotland 2-0 Estonia
- 43.48 %
Scotland 3-1 Estonia
- 8.7 %
Scotland 0-2 Estonia
- 8.7 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||6 Feb 2013||Scotland 1 - Estonia 0|
|19 Nov 2013||Norway 0 - Scotland 1||FR|
|15 Nov 2013||Scotland 0 - USA 0||FR|
|15 Oct 2013||Scotland 2 - Croatia 0||WCQE|
|10 Sep 2013||Macedonia FYR 1 - Scotland 2||WCQE|
|6 Sep 2013||Scotland 0 - Belgium 2||WCQE|
The 23-year-old has continued to score goals freely since his big-money move to Blackburn Rovers from Huddersfield last summer. His ability to finish from tight angles and create chances out of nothing make him a real threat to opposition defences and he will be desperate to establish himself as a regular for his country under Strachan.
The 35-year-old is his country's highest-ever goalscorer with 38 on his tally. With the other four strikers in Estonia's current 20-man squad yet to hit double figures at internatonal level, the veteran forward will again be expected to be the one who can help his side to get on the scoresheet.
The hosts will be hoping to kick-start their rein under Strachan in winning style and go into the match with a strong squad, especially up front. They should to have too much for their opponents to handle.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed