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Scotland v San Marino: Hosts to go through the motions in meaningless Group I match

Steve Clarke Scotland
Steve Clarke has endured a nightmare start
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Scotland fans are having it tough but a strong home win is expected against the minnows of San Marino. Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse previews...

"John McGinn scored first against Russia at Hampden last time and the talented attacker looks value at 7/1 to do the same again"

Scotland v San Marino
Sunday, 17:00
Live on Sky Sports

Battle of the bottom two

It's a pointless battle of the bottom two at Hampden Park on Sunday evening as Scotland host San Marino in this Euro 2020 Group I qualifier. The home team start this match in fifth place with a record showing two wins against five defeats. They have lost each of their last four and have no chance of gaining automatic qualification.

San Marino have performed as expected in a pool boasting the likes of Belgium, Russia and Cyprus. The minnows of European football - currently ranked 210 in the world by FIFA - have played seven and lost seven, scored no goals and conceded 37. It's little wonder this match will be fought out before a near empty stadium.

Scotland taught a lesson by Russia

Steve Clarke suffered yet another defeat on Thursday night when watching his fragile squad go down to a Russian side who didn't get going until the last half hour. With the scores locked at 0-0 the visitors believed they were showing signs of improvement. In truth, their opponents were merely going through the motions and when they stepped up a gear, Russia scored four goals in 27 minutes.

Artem Dzyuba netted a double, one either side of a strike from teammate Magomed Ozdoev on the hour, and it was up to Aleksandr Golovin to stick the boot in with a fourth on 80 minutes. The stats make sorry reading for the last few members of the Tartan Army. Russia finished with five shots on target and scored four goals, Scotland ended with 36% of the possession and just two shots. Another night to forget, but it gets worse. The Scots have now lost four games on the bounce for the first time since Berti Vogts was in charge. Steve Clarke's men have conceded just shy of three goals per game during his reign.

San Marino hammered 9-0

The home team's campaign has been a bitterly disappointing one, but their opponents have done as expected so far. They travel to Glasgow holding the rest of Group I up and have yet to score a goal in over 630 minutes of Euro 2020 qualifying football. Will they finally break the deadlock at Hampden? That would serve as further embarrassment for their hosts, that's for sure. It's unlikely, however, as La Serenissima travel on the back of a spirit crushing 9-0 defeat to Belgium in midweek.

A dominant display by the Belgians on Thursday night to see them take a step closer to shaking off the attentions of Russia and qualifying as pool champions, Belgium now have a maximum 21 points on the board from seven games. They are three better than the chasing pack with three games to go. It took Roberto Martinez's side 28 minutes to break down San Marino but then the floodgates opened. Romelu Lukaku scored two and there was also goals for Premier League stars Toby Alderweireld, Youri Tielemans and Christian Benteke.

Focus needed in difficult conditions

For as poor as Scotland have been in this campaign you've really got to fancy them to seize this opportunity to stop the rot and claim an overdue win. The stats don't look great for Steve Clarke but the fact the former Kilmarnock man has faced both Belgium twice and Russia twice in his last four makes it a little easier to swallow. The gaffer did oversee a hard-fought win over Cyprus here back in the summer and will demand another professional job from his troops on Sunday.

The stands will be bare as the Tartan Army vote with their feet but that was to be expected. The home team must keep their minds on the task at hand and ensure they get the job done against San Marino. Scotland must win, score a few goals and keep a clean sheet. The locals are 1/50 on the Betfair Sportsbook for three points, against the 35/1 for a draw and 80/1 the unthinkable happens and San Marino record their first ever win here.

McGinn looks great value

Most punters will be scared off by the price of Scotland to win the match, even those building weekend accumulators, but the specials markets at Betfair means there's something to hold our interest and make this match a little more exciting. Scotland -2 goals on the handicap looks nailed on at 1/4 and will do a job in your multiples.

Fans must be positive about the future, no matter how difficult that is at the minute. Aston Villa's rising star John McGinn scored first against Russia at Hampden last time and the talented attacker looks value at 7/1 to do the same again here. A goal anytime is 11/8.

Frank Monkhouse,

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