Scotland v Slovakia: Where to watch, kick-off time, likely line-ups

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Scotland host Slovakia at Hampden tonight needing a win to keep their World Cup 2018 hopes alive.

Scotland are without Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong but Gordon Strachan appears relaxed about their replacements.

Scotland face Slovakia in a must-win match this evening. Picture: SNS Group

Scotland face Slovakia in a must-win match this evening. Picture: SNS Group

Here’s our preview ahead of the crunch match...

Kick-off time: 7.45pm

Where to watch: Sky Sports Main Event (TV) and SkyGo (online streaming)

Likely Scotland starting XI: Gordon; Tierney, Berra, Mulgrew, Robertson; Bannan, Fletcher; Phillips, Morrison, Forrest; Griffiths.

Likely Slovakia starting XI: Dubravka; Pekarik, Durica, Skrtel, Hubocan; Kucka, Lobotka; Hamsik, Mak, Weiss; Nemec.

Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB)

Key Scotland player(s): It has to be Leigh Griffiths, doesn’t it? The Celtic striker has gone from being on the periphery of the starting XI to being one of the first names on the team sheet. His expertise from dead ball situations combined with his knack of creating goals out of nothing could be vital in a must-win game. At the back, Charlie Mulgrew and Christophe Berra may have a busier night than they did against Lithuania and Malta.

Key Slovakia player(s): Marek Hamsik, who will win his 100th cap tonight, is always a danger and pulls the strings for Slovakia in the midfield. Scotland will also be wary of Stanislav Lobotka and know only too well about the skills of Robert Mak, who scored twice and got an assist in the 3-0 defeat in Trnava last October. Former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel will be tasked with organising the Slovakian defence, and has bags of experience at this level.

Odds: Scotland 13/10 Draw 11/5 Slovakia 12/5 (SkyBet - prices correct at time of writing)

Previous meetings: Slovakia 3-0 Scotland

What Scotland are saying: “People have to stay focused. But there is only so much you can do as a coach. They have to stay focused themselves. It is a nervous bit. But in any big time sport you get this. If you are a golfer coming into the last two holes two ahead. If you are down in tennis and somebody is serving for the match, can you deal with that?” (Gordon Strachan, Scotland manager)

What Slovakia are saying: “If you follow us for some time, you will have seen that we try to impose our game on the play, without having consideration for the opponent. This will be a showdown and we want to show what we are capable of. Thank God that we still have this chance after a very poor start to the campaign. These are the games you need to be excited about.” (Jan Kozak, Slovakia manager)

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