There is no denying that Scotland’s chances of qualifying for Euro 2016 have been dealt a hefty blow after successive defeats, but manager Gordon Strachan is fully justified in his defiance given Group D’s dynamics and remaining fixtures.
Former Celtic manager Strachan, whose side now host Poland before ending their campaign in Gibraltar, insisted Scotland were still in the hunt for a spot, albeit the play-offs are now the only viable avenue.
It felt almost inevitable that Germany would compound an excruciating 1-0 defeat in Georgia by beating Scotland at Hampden Park, and so it proved.
Nevertheless, there was plenty of encouragement for the Tartan Army in that 3-2 defeat, where Lady Luck deserted their heroes when faced with the number one ranked international team on the planet.
Having also defeated second-place Poland in this round of fixtures, Joachim Low’s world champions appear to have finally asserted their authority on Group D, while Republic of Ireland putting another six points on the board has naturally left some Scots fearing for the worst.
As it stands, Germany lead the group on 19 points, from Poland on 17, Ireland on 15 and Scotland now trail the trio on 11, priced at a whopping 10/1 by Ladbrokes to make it to France.
However, this is rather a tempting price. Given the way the cookie has crumbled in terms of fixtures and some fine ground work Scotland already laid down earlier in proceedings, it means a play-off spot is still well within reach.
Taking it as read that Scotland defeat Gibraltar, who’ve lost all eight conceding 46 times, Strachan’s side are effectively on 14 points anyhow, while Martin O’Neill’s Boys in Green face the top two of Germany at home and Poland away.
If, and it is a big if, Scotland can defeat Poland at Hampden they will give themselves a fantastic chance of forcing their way into the play-off picture.
Should the Scots achieve 17 points then in the potential scenario they finish level with either Poland or Ireland, a favourable record against both (one win, one draw) would see them finish ahead by UEFA’s tie-break rules.
Home advantage could be vital for the Scottish against Poland in what is now the make or break fixture for them.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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