As anyone who has seen his post-match interviews or television punditry will know, Gordon Strachan does not do conservative. And, as he leads his new Scottish team out at their Hampden Park home for the first time this Friday, don’t expect his team to either.
Under his predecessor Craig Levein, Scotland’s international team became known for dour, defensive and, as their current position at the bottom of their qualifying group attests, ineffective.
Levein would be the first to defend his methods by pointing to a rather limited pool of players to choose from, but if Strachan’s squad selection, previous managerial approach and – of course – TV personality are anything to go by, the new man in charge won’t be going down that road regardless of the players at his disposal.
Strachan’s first game in charge suggested as much, when a 1-0 win over Estonia at Pittodrie only flattered the visitors as the Scots created chance after chance with Chris Burke and Shaun Maloney at the heart of things.
Wales will be the visitors to an undoubtedly fired-up Hampden on Friday, with the Welsh possessing a world class talent that Strachan could only dream of.
That talent comes in the shape of Gareth Bale of course, the man who almost single-handedly snatched a 2-1 win for the Welsh with two goals after Scotland had taken the lead.
And while Strachan’s predecessor might have made stopping the Spurs man priority number one this time round, the new boss has insisted that his players’ own strengths will come first when he forges a plan to overcome Chris Coleman’s team on the night, and overhaul them in Group A.
At 200/1 to qualify, Strachan is not expected to perform miracles and somehow get his side to Brazil, but with third-placed Serbia only two points off with six games remaining, he will have plenty of opportunity to rescue a bit of pride, and entertain.
Lying one place and one point above in fifth, Wales (150/1 to qualify) have similar ambitions. No doubt taking inspiration from their dramatic win in Cardiff, not to mention the presence of their phenomenal talisman, Coleman’s men will also be going all out.
For those Scottish fans desperate for more excitement and goals, this is a game that shouldn’t come short.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.