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Pride at stake for Scotland in a difficult test against Macedonia

| 10.09.2013

While Scotland are already condemned to spending next summer at home, there is plenty of pride at stake as Gordon Strachan’s men bid to avoid finishing rock bottom of a World Cup qualifying group for the first time ever.

The Tartan Terriers currently prop up the rest of Group A after only managing to accrue five points from eight games. Wales and Macedonia, who have both played a game less, sit above them on six and seven points respectively.

With their final game of the campaign against Croatia, who are guaranteed a play-off place and could yet top the group, this fixture against Macedonia represents their best chance of picking up the points to lift them off the bottom of this group and they are priced at 12/5 to do so.

Scotland came undone against group leaders Belgium who boasted a side that included the likes of Christian Benteke and Marouane Fellaini. Strachan’s men failed to get into the game against a side which possessed just too much quality. One could only empathise with Leigh Griffiths as he struggled to lead the line alone but lacked both the service and, in truth, the ability to threaten the Belgian goal.

Griffiths looks set to start up front again against Macedonia and the Wolverhampton Wanderers man will surely anticipate more chances against FIFA’s 89th ranked side. At 6/1, many will be tempted to back him scoring the first goal.

However, it will be no easy task against a Macedonia side full of confidence after defeating Wales 2-1 last time out.

The Red Lions got in the faces of their opponents and battled throughout the 90 minutes. A deflected free-kick fell kindly for Ivan Tričkovski who slammed the loose ball home and 7/1 is available on the Waasland-Beveren man to open the scoring this time.

Aleksander Trajkovski then got the winner with 10 minutes to go after Aaron Ramsey levelled from the spot. Trajkovski is priced at 5/2 to net anytime.

If there’s a recognisable a name on the Macedonia team sheet, it most certainly that of Napoli front man Goran Pandev. Pandev, who picked up a Champions League medal at Inter in 2010, has 26 international goals and is his country’s all-time leading scorer.

Although often deployed deeper internationally, 9/4 to score anytime is certain to appeal to some.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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Author

Matthew Mower