STEVE CLARKE performed a minor miracle to take Killie into Europe – and he'll need another to keep Scotland's Euro 2020 hopes alive.

First up it's a tough Russia side tonight and he returns to Hampden on Monday with the world's best team Belgium the opposition.

Belgium are banker material while we'll need to be at our best to prevent the Russians leaving Glasgow with three points.

Russia have won three out of four but we've been on the back foot since that 3-0 loss in Kazakhstan cost Alex McLeish his job.

The visitors are favourites at a best 7-4 with bet365 with a home win paying 19-10 with the same firm. I reckon a draw is our best hope at 2-1 with McBookie.

Russia not to lose will be a popular bet at 1-2 with Marathonbet while Russia draw no bet is 5-6 at McBookie.

I hate backing against Scotland but we look weak in defence and short up top. Clarke though made Killie tough to beat and we know he's tactically astute so let's hope he pulls a rabbit, or even a Ronaldo, out the hat.

We've kept just four clean sheets in 16 and are relying on the likes of David Bates, Mikey Devlin and Liam Cooper at the back.

I can't see us stopping Russia scoring so to win we'd need to net two and that's unlikely. Goals are more likely to come from midfield so consider James Forrest to net at 3-1 with Unibet.

Looks like Clarke will go up top with Sheffield United's £20million man Oli McBurnie and he is 7-1 at Betway to score first.

Zenit star Artem Dzyuba is favourite to score at 9-4 with Paddy Power and 11-2 at Betway to break the deadlock.

Belgium are no price to win at San Marino with the handicap set at six. if he starts consider Romelu Lukaku to score first at 11-5 with bet365.

In Group E Wales really have to beat Azerbaijan at home to get back in the mix after taking just three points from their first three games.

They face pointless Azerbaijan in Cardiff boosted by the good form of attackers Gareth Bale, Daniel James and Harry Wilson, Bale netted a double for Real Madrid at Villarreal last Sunday and is 5-2 at 10Bet to score first. Wales should win but are no bigger than 2-7.

Slovakia v Croatia looks tough to call and in this one I'm taking both to score at 6-5 with William Hill.

Goals are also the way to go in what could be the game of the night between Germany and Holland. Both have scored in 14 of the last 16 meetings between the old rivals and as the Germans continue their rebuild job that pays 3-5 at Marathonbet.

Latvia are the whipping boys in Group H with four defeats out of four and 13 goals conceded. It should be a fifth at Austria who are extremely short. Latvia have lost all four games by at least two goals so consider Austria -2 at 5-6 with betfair.

The other game sees 100 per cent leaders Poland head to Slovenia as 13-10 favourites. As usual Robert Lewandowski will be a threat here and he'll be buoyant after signing a deal that ties him to Bayern Munich until 2023. He is 14-5 at Ladbrokes to score first.

Recommended Bets

  • Russia draw no bet
  • Lukaku to score first
  • Bale to score first
  • Slovakia v Croatia btts
  • Austria -2
  • Lewandowski to score first
3 Comments
  1. zheka83 2 months ago

    I have confidence that our national team will not lose. First, because here and now Cherchasov ‘s team is simply stronger, second, for a long time Scots did not beat serious rivals (even at home) at the official level. I expect a tough, viscous game in which ours will score a minimum of 1 point. My tips – Russian national team won t lose and total goals under (3.5) for 1.71.

    • Mr Fixit 2 months ago

      You shouldn’t lose unless our new manager comes up with something special.

  2. mal c 2 months ago

    I was worried when Hanley was selected as he never played well in any Scotland game usually costs us a goal , with Bates coming in is probably another disaster waiting to happen loaned out after one season in league 2 in Germany with Hamburg , I’m with you Paul – Russia draw no bet , and maybe a under 2.5 goals as it will be defensive set up that Clarke will play

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