The key talking points ahead of Scotland’s clash with Kazakhstan

By PA Sport Staff

Scotland take on Kazakhstan in their final Euro 2020 qualifier at Hampden Park on Tuesday night.

Steve Clarke’s side have no chance of qualifying through the conventional method but can qualify through the Nations League play-offs which take place in March.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points ahead of the Scots’ last Group I game of the campaign.

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Three and easy

Scotland boss Steve Clarke at a press conference ahead of the Kazakhstan game (Ronnie Esplin/PA)
Scotland boss Steve Clarke at a press conference ahead of the Kazakhstan game (Ronnie Esplin/PA)

Boss Clarke is hoping to finish the doomed campaign with three consecutive wins.

The former West Brom and Kilmarnock manager started his reign with a home win over Cyprus but then suffered four consecutive defeats in the games against Russia and Belgium.

However, the 6-0 victory over San Marino at Hampden Park and the 2-1 win in Cyprus on Saturday increased the feel-good factor around the side and another victory against Kazakhstan would ensure third place in the section and keep momentum going.

Kazakhstan payback?

Alex McLeish gestures on the touchline during Scotland’s loss in Kazakhstan (Adam Davy/PA)
Alex McLeish gestures on the touchline during Scotland’s loss in Kazakhstan (Adam Davy/PA)

Scotland never recovered from losing 3-0 in Kazakhstan in their Group I opener.

The shock result led to the departure of Alex McLeish after an expected San Marino win days later, and he was replaced by Clarke.

The former Scotland, St Mirren and Chelsea defender stressed that this game was no revenge mission but there is an opportunity for the Scots to show the visitors how much they have improved and end a disappointing campaign on a high.

Six is a magic number

John McGinn had another fruitful afternoon against Cyprus.

The Aston Villa midfielder scored the winner in the 53rd minute to make it five goals from his last five games for his country.

Another goal from him would make even better reading for Scotland who have not had regular scorers in quite a while.

Clarke will surely look to take advantage of the former St Mirren and Hibernian player’s international form as he bids to extend their winning run.

Central defence solutions

Central defence has been a problem for Clarke.

Injuries, mostly, have prevented the Scotland boss from putting a regular pairing in place.

Motherwell’s Declan Gallagher had an impressive debut in Cyprus at the weekend, playing alongside Scott McKenna.

Will he keep his place or will McKenna’s Aberdeen team-mate Michael Devlin, a second-half substitute in Nicosia, be handed a start? Or will it be Gallagher and Devlin?

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