Scotland are up against San Marino in their second European Championship qualifier although while this would normally be seen as something of a ‘banker’, the outcome has become far less predictable following Scotland’s desperately poor showing against Kazakhstan on Thursday evening.
The Scots capitulated against a side who sit 77 positions below them in the FIFA World Rankings, Yuriy Pertsukh opening the scoring in the sixth minute and Yan Vorogovskiy adding a second just four minutes later. The rout was complete when Baktiyar Zaynutdinov added a third for the home side six minutes after the break and the forlorn Scots will need to regroup ahead of what – on paper at least – should be a relatively easy ride.
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The Scots do have a tendency to shoot themselves in the feet when it comes to qualifying for major international competitions but this midweek result must surely rank as one of the worst in the side’s recent history. Kazakhstan are ranked 117th in the official rankings and it should be remembered that weekend opponents San Marino have been as high as 118th in the past. As such there are absolutely no guarantees that the Scots can pull something out of the bag on Sunday, although in all honesty we don’t really envisage the tiny nation (San Marino, not Scotland) pulling off a shock of seismic proportions.
Indeed Scotland are 1/25 with Ladbrokes Bookmakers to get their first three points on the board this weekend although they now have a massive mountain to climb in their qualifying ambitions, even at this extremely early stage of proceedings. Alex McLeish’s men do have a back-up plan thanks to their promotion in the UEFA Nations League but they really do need to pick themselves up from what was a thoroughly embarrassing display on the world stage and there are absolutely no guarantees that they will actually do this against a San Marino side who are the lowest ranked nation in the FIFA list.