Amid all the uncertainties about what Scotland need to qualify for the second stage for the first time in their history, there is one indisputable fact: they must score, possibly more than once.
Steve Clarke’s side are now the only team left in the competition still to break their duck in front of goal. Scotland require three points against the Croats to stand a chance of progressing and have suffered from a combination of bad luck and poor finishing in their first two Group D outings.
Much will likely depend on Dykes tomorrow night at Hampden. The striker scored twice in his first four games for Scotland but has not scored in his last ten appearances. He came close in the 0-0 draw against England and was denied by good goalkeeping in last Monday’s 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic.
The striker is likely to be joined by Che Adams in attack as Clarke retains faith in a partnership that started against England at Wembley.
Dykes insists he retains belief in himself and claims the manager is not unduly concerned by the lack of goals so far.
“‘I’m always confident,” said Dykes. “We’ve got goals in this team, a hundred per cent – we’ve just been unlucky in the last couple of games. Keepers are making good saves, the ball just hasn’t fallen where sometimes it would fall.
“The manager’s not worrying about it, none of us are worrying about it,” he added. “The goals will come. Obviously, we need to score against Croatia. But I’m sure the ball will hit the back of the net.
“The margins have been so fine in the first couple of games,” he continued. “And, if the keeper is making a great save, that doesn’t mean we’ve missed a chance.
“You see the save Jordan Pickford made against Stephen O’Donnell the other night. He couldn’t really do much else to score – but the keeper made a great save.
“Unfortunately, even when he saved it, the ball just went over Che’s head. On another day he tips it straight to Che and he taps it in. But we’ve got goals in this squad. They’ll go in. We’re all confident."