SCOTLAND'S Group I fate was sealed a long time ago – possibly when the draw was made.
It was always going to be a tough task to finish ahead of Belgium or Russia but we would have expected to be a comfortable third.
That's still possible if we avoid defeat in Cyprus but it's still galling to be in with a shout of coming fifth out of six.
Let's face it this qualifying campaign has been a disaster from start to finish but at least we have a Nations League play-off to potentially save our skins.
Steve Clarke will be hoping to finish with wins today and at home to Kazakhstan on Tuesday to build confidence ahead of D-Day.
We are 3-1 at Marathonbet for a double-header double and only the most fervent Tartan Army member would back it with hard cash.
It took a last-gasp Oli Burke goal to beat the Cypriots at home and our only points and goals on the road have come at San Marino.
Scotland's chances have been hit by the withdrawal of the likes of skipper Andy Robertson, Ryan Fraser and Scott McTominay and we have the usual problems of a makeshift defence and lightweight attack.
Keiran Tierney wasn't selected at Arsenal's request so third-choice left-back Greg Taylor, who hasn't seen much action at Celtic, is likely to start ahead of Derby's Graeme Shinnie.
Up front Steven Naismith will start and captain the side as he earns his 50th cap and a place in the SFA Hall of Fame.
The Hearts striker is 7-1 with bet365 to score first while Dundee United’s Lawrence Shankland, who could come off the bench, is 13-2.
Aberdeen pair Scott McKenna and Mikey Devlin are likely to be in central defence and our chances of keeping a clean sheet look slim.
Aston Villa's John McGinn hit a hat-trick against San Marino and attracts at 7-2 with BetVictor to net again.
Elsewhere in Group I, Russia entertain Belgium and need to win by better than 3-1 to claim top spot.
Belgium won 3-1 in Brussels and on their day are capable of repeating the feat but look a little short at evens.
Russia have been powerhouses at home and best bet could be Russia draw no bet at 9-5 with Marathonbet. I also expect both to score at 7-10 with the same firm.
It's a big day for Northern Ireland and Wales as they try to keep their automatic qualification hopes alive.
The Irish have done well to keep pace with Holland and Germany but finish with games against the big two – and probably need two wins.
Holland head to Windsor Park as one of the favourites to win Euro 2020 and I reckon they'll prevent a fond farewell for boss Michael O'Neill by winning but 1-2 with McBookie is short.
Wales must beat Azerbaijan away today and Hungary away next week to have any chance of making it.
A best price of 1-2 at Betfred looks decent to see off a side with just one point and look to Bournemouth's Harry Wilson or Man United's Daniel James – both 7-1 – to score first ahead of Gareth Bale who hasn't played for Real Madrid since being injured for the Welsh against Croatia a month ago.
- Cyprus v Scotland draw
- Naismith to score
- Russia draw no bet
- Germany -2
- James to score first