Georgia vs Scotland recommended bets
Georgia vs Scotland match preview
Having qualified for a major tournament with two games to spare for the first time ever, Scotland can play free of pressure, simply seeking to accumulate as many points as possible to improve their seeding.
Steve Clarke’s team began this campaign with five wins out of five, before this run was controversially ended by Spain last month, ultimately beaten 2-0 at Estadio de La Cartuja.
Nevertheless, the Tartan Army have already begun planning for next summer’s pilgrimage to Germany, with Sunday’s home game against Norway set to be a celebration of all this team has achieved in 2023.
Before then, the Dark Blues will make the long 2,300 mile journey east, hoping it’s third time lucky in Tbilisi, having lost both previous visits, beaten 2-0 in 2007 and then 1-0 in 2015.
The reverse fixture in Glasgow during the summer was a bad-tempered affair, with the match suspended for over two hours due to torrential rain.
Given that they were 1-0 down, Callum McGregor breaking the deadlock, the Georgian players tried to get the match abandoned but, in the end, play resumed, with Scott McTominay securing a 2-0 victory.
So, despite the fact, ostensibly, both teams have little to play for, expect a hotly-contested affair.
Georgia meantime have never qualified for a major tournament, although they’re still in with a shout of changing that fact.
Willy Sagnol’s side will be involved in March’s play-offs, as League C’s top-ranked side, thereby hosting a semi-final, probably against Luxembourg, before meeting either Greece or Kazakhstan in the final five days later.
In this campaign, both of the Crusaders’ wins have come against Cyprus, including smashing the group’s whipping boys 4-0 at Mikheil Meskhi Stadium last time out.
On their own turf, Georgia are traditionally very tough to beat, losing only six of their last 22 competitive home games, although the obvious outlier during this six year period is a 7-1 hammering by Spain in September.
This, usurpingly, was the biggest defeat of their 31-year history.
So, can Scotland claim a first-ever win, and score their first-ever goal, at Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena?
Georgia team news
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is the team’s obvious talisman, with the Napoli winger having scored 12 times in 26 caps, including netting in both matches last month, on target in emphatic wins over Thailand and Cyprus.
Valencia’s Giorgi Mamardashvili is the number one these days, while Ajax striker Georges Mikautadze has scored seven times for his country in 2023, albeit four of these came against Thailand.
Captain Guram Kashia will win his 109th cap; he was in the XI that beat Scotland 1-0 eight years ago.
Predicted XI (4-5-1): Mamardashvili; Kakabadze, Kvirkvelia, Kashia, Azarovi; Kvekveskiri, Kochorashvili, Chakvetadze, Zivzivadze, Kvaratskhelia; Mikautadze.
Scotland team news
The Tartan Army travel east depleted, with Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Aaron Hickey, Angus Gunn and Ché Adams all sidelined.
It’s good thing qualification is already secured!
Without first-choice goalkeeper Gunn, either Zander Clark or Liam Kelly, both of whom made their international debuts in France last month, will be donning the gloves, it remains to be seen who.
A similar back five to that deployed at Stade Pierre-Mauroy could be on show here, with Liam Cooper and Greg Taylor coming in on the left side, while Nathan Patterson will get the nod at right-wing-back.
21 year old Josh Doig, who’s been impressing with Hellas Verona, is dreaming of his debut during this window.
Scott McTominay has been absolutely on fire in Euro qualifying, scoring six times, a tally only bettered by Lukaku, Ronaldo, Højlund and Kane, so will he be the hero again?
Predicted XI (5-4-1): Clark; Patterson, Hendry, Porteous, Cooper, Taylor; Gilmour, McGregor, McTominay, McGinn; Dykes.