Talking points ahead of Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Russia

Scotland will hope to kick start their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with victory over Russia at Hampden on Friday night.

Here PA takes a look at three of the main talking points ahead of the game.

Time for Oli McBurnie contribution after act of contrition

Scotland v Portugal – International Friendly – Hampden Park
Oli McBurnie, wearing blue, will aim to open his goalscoring account for Scotland (Jane Barlow/PA)

The Sheffield United striker was forced to address his national team colleagues this week after a video clip appeared on social media showing him apparently admitting he was not keen to join up with Steve Clarke’s squad. The striker may have clinched his £20million Blades switch this summer but he is still waiting for his first goal after seven caps and the best way to prove his commitment to the cause would be to finally break his international duck against the Russians.

A case for the defence?

Wigan Athletic v Leeds United – Sky Bet Championship – DW Stadium
Leeds captain Liam Cooper could star in defence for Scotland (Clint Hughes/PA)

Injuries had already cost Clarke the services of Kieran Tierney, Scott McKenna, John Souttar and Stuart Findlay when the Scotland boss announced his squad last month. Fresh blows came this week when Grant Hanley and Liam Palmer were ruled out. But Clarke should still be able to piece together a steady enough back line with skipper Andy Robertson likely to be joined by experienced campaigner Charlie Mulgrew and either former Rangers centre-back David Bates or Leeds captain Liam Cooper, with Stephen O’Donnell at right-back.

Ryan Christie to provide the spark

Celtic v Nomme Kalju – UEFA Champions League – Second Qualifying Round – First Leg – Celtic Park
Ryan Christie has been in-form for Celtic (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Hoops playmaker has been in sensational form for Neil Lennon’s team this season, netting eight goals in his first 13 appearances. The sickening facial injury he sustained in last term’s Scottish Cup semi-final means he has not yet been given a chance to show Clarke what he can do for his new-look national team but the manager will be eager to squeeze him into line-up having seen him start the campaign so impressively.

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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