Life on the other side of a failed 2020 European champions qualification begins for Steve Clarke’s men this Saturday when they face the Cypriots.
Their opponents have a similar sorry tale to tell, having been defeated in three consecutive games prior to this weekend’s clash that has omitted them from next summer’s proceedings.
Yet while there are plenty of incentives for both teams to claim victory, the visitors are the side that are heavily depleted, and without their front-line lieutenants – reason enough for our Cyprus vs Scotland predictions to wager in the favour of a draw.
Sure, a single point might not be enough to appease the masses. But for Clarke and his men, it’ll be a reasonable result given the makeshift starting XI that’ll be travelling to the GSP Stadium.
So, scroll on down for our projections…
Cyprus vs Scotland Predictions
It hasn’t been an easy calendar year for Scottish fans.
From watching their team suffer four losses on the bounce, to having to reaccustom to new managers and news waves of injury crisis’, there have been very few reasons to be cheerful.
In that time, the Tartan Army have grown increasingly disillusioned as their country has capitulated time and again, against Russia, Belgium, and most recently Kazakhstan.
This weekend the trek to Nicosia should hopefully inspire newfound courage to end the year on a high and deliver a bit of early Christmas festivities for the travelling fans.
Much like they did against San Marino in Glasgow, when they knocked six past the Minnows. True, Franco Varrella’s team are ranked as the worst in the world – alongside Anguilla – but there was an element of free-flowing football about the manner of the Scots attack.
And while it would be easy to consider this as a result most countries could pull off, the Scots need to make the most of every bit of positivity they can get at the moment and leading the charge in procuring that in the San Marino clash was John McGinn.
With the kind of service the forward was receiving from captain Andy Robertson and Scott McTominay, it was no surprise that McGinn had notched up a brace before he bagged his hat-trick via another one of those Ryan Christie corners.
It was the relentless pressing and attacking that Clarke’s men showcased that led to the flood of goals, from attack to defence; and that’s how they play best.
But as with any of this weekend’s visitors campaigns down the years, there’s always a twist in the tale. More recently it’s been defensive mishaps, but given how heavily undersupplied they are in defence, our Cyrpus vs Scotland predictions aren’t betting on another attacking performance against the Cypriots.
Especially if they want to keep themselves from succumbing to another defeat courtesy of their hosts attacking quartet, chiefly Georgios Efrem.
The pacey winger, who is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder as well, has been in the centre of all the drama for Cyprus. Whether it’s scoring goals or creating opportunities for others, Efrem is never too far away from the action.
It’s no wonder that he was named the best player of the 2015/2016 Cypriot First Division campaign.
Indeed, combine his attacking talents and the lack of key personnel for Scotland – Kieran Tierney, Robertson, McTominay and Ryan Fraser – and a draw might be the very best scoreline to punt on as well as play for.
Cyprus vs Scotland Head To Head
True, Scotland haven’t lost against this Saturday’s opponents since 1968. And while that record may remain intact, there is enough evidence to suggest that they won’t be returning to Hampden Park with all three points.
Indeed, down the years Clarke’s men have only managed to emerge as narrow 2-1 winners in three of their last six games.
Yet this Saturday’s encounter has an entirely different flavour about it. Not only do the Cypriots have nothing to lose having also failed to make next summer’s proceedings, but they possess genuine attacking flair – the kind that our Cyprus vs Scotland predictions are wagering will hold the visitors to a point.
Cyprus Team News
Unlike the Scots, Ran Ben Shimon has very few injury concerns to report of, which means he’ll be able to field his strongest starting XI this weekend.
The only absence is that of Konstantinos Laifis who was sent off after 27 minutes in the 5-0 hammering by Russia for a horror-show of a tackle.
And with the experienced defender absent, our Cyrpus vs Scotland predictions wager it to be at least something of a morale boost for the travelling team.
Scotland Team News
The Scots, on the other hand, have far bigger fish to fry.
For Clarke that concerns the absences of Charlie Mulgrew, Stuart Findlay, Robertson, Tierney (at Arsenal’s discretion), Fraser, and McTominay who was stretchered off against Brighton on the weekend.
Which means that replacements such as Lewis Morgan and Graeme Shinnie will have to step up and provide attacking closure for the Scots.
However, the likes of McGinn, Callum McGregor, Stuart Armstong and John Fleck should have enough wherewithal to exercise their experience and conquer midfield.
Yet, the real problem for the visitors comes in defence.
Indeed, Clarke only has Aberdeen duo Scott Mckenna and Mikey Devlin plus Declan Gallagher as a potential centre-back pairing.
And who he fields as fullbacks/wingers are still anyone’s guess.
Cyprus vs Scotland Betting Tips
Meanwhile, things don’t look any more opportunistic on the betting forefront for the Scots.
With the hosts trading as 39/20 in our Cyprus vs Scotland match bets it’s clear that there is a much better probability for the travelling contingent to punt on the odds about a draw: 11/5.
And in line with our own Cyprus vs Scotland predictions, the chances of an away win for Clarke’s men – forecasted as a 29/20 pick – aren’t all that promising either.
So, a point at the GSP should be a positive goal to reach, one that the Scots will have to claim with a depleted squad.