Steve Clarke's side are on a dismal run having lost their last three matches with an aggregate score of 9-1. They are languishing in fifth place in Group I, where only San Marino are faring worse.
However, despite the disappointing performance thus far, victory over Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium could see them move up to third, clawing back respectability ahead of Sunday's home game against San Marino.
Of course, defeat, on the other hand, will put a mathematical nail into the coffin of the Tartan Army's hopes of automatic qualification.
Luckily for the Scots, they have already booked their place in the play-offs thanks to their Nations League finish, but they will be eager to start putting together a string of positive results sooner rather than later.
|Game||Russia vs Scotland|
|Date||Thursday, October 10|
|Time||7:45pm BST / 2:45pm ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched on ESPN 3 or it can be streamed live using TUDNxtra.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the UK, the match will be shown on Sky Sports Football and it can be streamed live online via Sky Go.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Football||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Guilherme, Lunyov, Dzhanayev|
|Defenders||Kudryashov, Fernandes, Dzhikiya, Semyonov, Ignatyev, Petrov, Belyayev, Chistyakov, Karavayev|
|Midfielders||Zhirkov, Golovin, Cheryshev, Ionov, Kuzyayev, Ozdoyev, Akhmetov, Mogilevets, Barinov, Bakayev|
|Forwards||Dzyuba, Komlichenko, Sobolev|
Russia have had a number of withdrawals from their squad due to injuries, with Roman Zobnin, Fyodor Smolov and Rifat Zhemaletdinov ruled out.
However, they still have a number of dangerous players at their disposal, such as Zenit striker Artem Dzyuba and Monaco star Aleksandr Golovin.
Potential Russia XI: Guilherme; Kudryashov, Semyonov, Dzhikiya, Fernandes; Ozdoyev, Akhmetov, Ionov, Golovin, Zhirkov; Dzyuba.
|Goalkeepers||Marshall, McLaughlin, MacGillivray|
|Defenders||Devlin, Findlay, Gallagher, Mulgrew, O'Donnell, Palmer, Robertson, Taylor|
|Midfielders||Armstrong, Christie, Fleck, McGinn, McGregor, McTominay, Snodgrass|
|Forwards||Burke, Forrest, Fraser, Russell, Shankland|
Scotland will be without Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney, who was withdrawn from the squad in order to focus on his recovery from injury.
There will be changes in defence with Grant Hanley and Liam Cooper unavailable, meaning Charlie Mulgrew set for a new centre-back partner. Declan Gallagher, Stuart Findlay and Michael Devlin are the options as they all view for a senior debut.
Clarke will be hoping for big performances from team captain, Liverpool's Andrew Robertson, not to mention Aston Villa's John McGinn, who has hit the ground running in the Premier League, and Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay.
Potential Scotland XI: Marshall; Robertson, Mulgrew, Gallagher, O'Donnell; McTominay, McGregor, McGinn, Fraser, Forrest; Burke.
Betting & Match Odds
Hosts Russia are heavy favourites to win at 1/2 with bet365. Scotland, meanwhile are priced at 7/1 to avenge their September defeat, while a draw is available at 16/5.
Despite taking an early lead in the game, Scotland suffered defeat at home when they met Russia at Hampden Park in September and they will be desperate to avoid a repeat of that fate on Thursday.
"For a reason I have yet to determine, we stepped off the game and allowed Russia to dominate us and impose their style of play on us," Clarke said of the loss, which was their fourth of the campaign.
"Why we allowed that game to drift away from us, whether it's a mental thing or a quality thing, we will need to assess."
Naturally, the goal for Clarke and co. is to avenge that loss and, indeed, to prevent their campaign from being brought to a premature halt - if they are beaten again, there is no chance of automatic qualification.
Certainly, while the Scotland squad is admittedly light on cover in the centre-back department, there is enough talent scattered throughout to restore some equity in the group.
With a Champions League winner leading the team out and bright young Premier League stars making up the supporting cast, Scottish fans have every right to expect better.