Scotland - Macedonia FYR Preview: Levein sticks to his guns as his goal-shy side seek vital win
After a drab 0-0 draw at home to Serbia on Saturday, the pressure is on the hosts to pick up all three points when Hampden plays host to their Eastern European opponents
By Al Hain-Cole
Hutton, Webster, Berra, Dixon
Naismith, Morrison, Adam, Snodgrass
Georgievski, Shikov, Noveski, Popov
Ibraimi, Demiri, Gligorov, Trickovski
Scotland manager Craig Levein is unlikely to stray from his favoured 4-1-4-1 formation, despite public outcry for him to introduce more firepower to the team after the drab 0-0 draw against Serbia.
The boss is expected to perservere with the 32-year-old Kenny Miller up front, with Jordan Rhodes and Jamie Mackie once again restricted to a place on the bench.
Steven Naismith could yet find himself suspended for the match for his forearm smash on Serbia's Srdan Mijailovic, depending on Fifa's assessment of Saturday's official match report.
There are minor injury concerns over goalkeeper Allan McGregor and right-back Alan Hutton, who are suffering from slight groin and calf twinges respectively. Full-backs Charlie Mulgrew, Russell Martin and Danny Fox are still sidelined.
Macedonia, meanwhile, are expected to stick with the same line-up that served them well in Friday's trip to Croatia, when they were unlucky to come away with a 1-0 defeat.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Scotland have only won three of their nine competitive matches under Craig Levein, with two of those coming in narrow victories against minnows Liechtenstein.
- The Tartan Army were drawn against Macedonia in qualifying for the previous World Cup, when they lost 1-0 away before triumphing 2-0 at Hampden Park.
- The Scots managed just nine goals in eight games during qualification for Euro 2012, conceding 10.
- Kenny Miller (pictured right) and Steven Naismith were their top-scorers in that qualifying campaign, with two goals apiece
- Should Scotland fail to qualify for Brazil 2014, it will be the longest period in their history without competing at a World Cup finals
- Liverpool legend John Toshack was sacked as manager of Macedonia in August after a year in charge, reportedly for refusing to relocate to the Balkan nation.
- Left-back Goran Popov recently moved on loan to West Brom from Dynamo Kiev, following in the footsteps of fellow Macedonian international Artim Sakiri, who also briefly plied his trade at the Hawthorns.
- Macedonia have only won two World Cup qualifiers away from home in 21 attempts since becoming a Fifa member in 1994.
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Top 3 Predictions
Scotland 0-1 Macedonia FYR
- 21.88 %
Scotland 1-2 Macedonia FYR
- 17.19 %
Scotland 2-0 Macedonia FYR
- 9.38 %
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Sep 11, 2013||Macedonia FYR 1 - Scotland 2|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Sep 12, 2012||Scotland 1 - Macedonia FYR 1|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Sep 5, 2009||Scotland 2 - Macedonia FYR 0|
|World Cup 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||Sep 6, 2008||Macedonia FYR 1 - Scotland 0|
|Mar 6, 2014||Poland 0 - Scotland 1||FR|
|Nov 20, 2013||Norway 0 - Scotland 1||FR|
|Nov 16, 2013||Scotland 0 - USA 0||FR|
|Oct 16, 2013||Scotland 2 - Croatia 0||WCQE|
|Sep 11, 2013||Macedonia FYR 1 - Scotland 2||WCQE|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed