Scotland take on Moldova at Hampden on Saturday night needing a win in their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Steve Clarke’s side have five points from a possible 12 in Group F following their 2-0 defeat by Denmark in Copenhagen on Wednesday and are expected to add to that tally ahead of Tuesday’s crunch game with Austria in Vienna.
Here, the PA news agency looks at five talking points ahead of the visit of Roberto Bordin’s outfit.
Scotland squad replenished
Clarke named 26 players in his original squad but was struck by injuries and Covid issues.
Stephen O’Donnell, Nathan Patterson, John McGinn and Kevin Nisbet are all back in contention which will be a boost to the Scotland boss.
However, with due respect to Moldova, who are 175th in the FIFA rankings, bottom of the section with one point having conceded 15 goals and scored two, it should be for the Austria game that Scotland will have to be close to full strength.
Clarke is likely to pick a side with one eye on the match in Vienna and should the game go as expected there will be further changes in the second half.
Robertson returns to the left
With natural right-sided defenders O’Donnell and Patterson unavailable for the trip to Denmark, Clarke decided to deploy captain Robertson as right wing-back, with Kieran Tierney on the other side.
The move did not work.
After going 2-0 down in 15 minutes Clarke made changes at the interval, first by bringing on striker Lyndon Dykes for Scott McKenna.
Robertson moved to the left, Ryan Fraser dropped to right wing-back and Tierney returned to the back three, with Scotland stabilising.
The Liverpool left-back will return to his natural habitat against Moldova and will surely stay there in the future.
Back on the goal trail
Scotland have never been prolific. Clarke’s side have scored only one goal in their last four games and there was little of substance created against Denmark.
It was a hard shift for Che Adams as he led the line against the dominant Danes. Dykes shared the burden for a while when he came on for the start of the second half and the returning Nisbet will offer another option.
However, whichever permutation and personnel Clarke opts for against Moldova, there will be an expectancy of goals from the strikers.
Morale booster for game against Austria
Scotland’s qualification hopes are in the balance.
The race is on with Austria and Israel – both two points ahead of the Scots – for second place behind runaway leaders Denmark who should win the section.
Scotland at the very least need a draw in Vienna while a home game against Moldova, who lost 8-0 to Denmark earlier in the campaign, offers the chance to get three points, some goals and a confidence boost ahead of Tuesday’s crunch fixture.
Proper Hampden crowd back
Hampden Park will not be full for the visit of Moldova but it will be the biggest attendance inside the stadium since before the pandemic began.
There were around 10,000 of the Tartan Army at the national stadium for both Euro 2020 games against Czech Republic and Croatia.
However, Saturday night will be more like a traditional Scotland home game and a sizeable crowd will get behind the players for what should be a comfortable home win.