Scotland are back in action tonight in the second game of their Nations League double-header, facing a much-weakened Czech Republic side in Olomouc, and manager Steve Clarke could make a number of changes his side from Friday’s draw with Israel.
The game has teetered on the brink of descending into absolute chaos with the Czech FA initially claiming the fixture wouldn’t go ahead before UEFA’s intervention saw them call up a raft of new players to fulfil the tie.
They opened their Nations League campaign with an impressive 3-1 win away to Slovakia but their preparations were disrupted as West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek and RB Leipzig striker Patrik Schick were ordered self-isolate following contact with a backroom staff member who tested positive for COVID-19.
That led to a host of withdrawals and the shambles that followed, but Scotland are now in a fantastic position to pick up a win and end the first round of games with four points.
After trying out a three-man central defence against Israel, Clarke might look to go with something a little bit more familiar against the Czech’s tactically – at least to begin with.
After leaving fans infuriated with Scott McTominay’s selection in defence on Friday, Clarke might return the Manchester United star back to a midfield role, dropping in to defence when needed and letting the full-backs bomb forward.
Here’s how we think Scotland could line-up tonight:
The Rangers keeper was a surprise omission against Israel after his impressive start at Ibrox and it would make some sense for Clarke to give him 90 minutes tonight to impress.
Palmer seems more accustomed to playing as a full-back rather than the more attacking wing-backs Clarke opted for on Friday, but tonight should be a great chance for him to get some minutes under his belt for Scotland.
Motherwell defender hasn’t had the best of starts to the season but Clarke seems to see something in him. Could lose out to Leeds’ skipper Liam Cooper but with little pressure on Scotland, it should be a good chance for Gallagher to stake a claim for more games.
Aberdeen star played fairly well on Friday night and looks certain to retain his place in the side tonight. Clarke looks to be making him a cornerstone of his defence so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him given every opportunity to play in dark blue.
Arsenal star was one of Scotland’s biggest threats on Friday as he rotated with Andy Robertson at wing-back but tonight it should be his own. Might only play 45 minutes with Greg Taylor on the bench but, after barely working with Clarke so far, the manager will want to give him minutes.
Jack’s selection seems to really split fans but he does the job he’s asked to do well and mops up in front of the defence to allow more attack-minded players to get forward. His impressive form at club level isn’t quite replicated for Scotland but he’s a solid anchor for the midfield.
Selection at centre-back – and his performance – annoyed fans on Friday and it makes sense that he’ll be moved back into midfield tonight. He can always drop in to allow others to push forward, or even allow for a change of shape during the game as Clarke looks to pick up a win.
Aston Villa midfielder has been one of Scotland’s most consistent performers and should keep his place for tonight’s clash. His driving runs from midfield continually cause problems for opposition defences and he will likely play a key role against the Czechs.
Christie is probably Scotland’s most important player just now and has been involved in seven goals in his past seven Scotland starts, scoring two goals and contributing five assists. Should be a nailed-on starter.
The Southampton star is something of a luxury player at times but he can provide that killer pass that Scotland badly-lacked against Israel on Friday. Armstrong will provide a real threat for Scotland going forward and create chances.
The big striker worked hard on his debut against Israel and should retain his place in the side tonight. With a much-weakened Czech side, it should be a good chance to get his first international goal and cap off a whirlwind few weeks for him.