Gordon Strachan has named a large squad for his first match in charge of Scotland and that could count against the home side when they take on Estonia at Pittodrie on Wednesday.
Wednesday ushers in a new era for Scotland where, hopefully, the negativity that plagued Craig Levein's reign as national manager is replaced by a more positive outlook under Gordon Strachan. The former Celtic and Southampton boss has certainly done as much as he can to ingratiate himself with the Tartan Army by naming no fewer than seven forwards in his 28 man squad for the friendly with Estonia.
All 28 players cannot obviously play and the fact that Strachan has chosen to include so many is testament to the work that needs done with Scotland. There are no real stars at the moment and so it is simply a case of trial and error until the new manager finds a system that suits both him and the players.
That may not happen immediately and it is a surprise to see Scotland listed as short as 1/2 with some firms to win against Estonia on Wednesday. Coral
are a stand out 8/13 but it must be remembered that the visitors were in the Euro 2012 playoffs not so long ago and are not the whipping boys of 20 years ago.
FIFA rankings are often mocked but they are a good indicator of relative ability level. The top places may be up for debate but it is unusual for the governing body to be way off. Burkina Faso being ahead of Scotland was recently held up as evidence of the shambles of the FIFA system yet the Africans are in the semi finals of the African Nations Cup, and so can't be too bad.
Estonia are ranked 20 places below Scotland and that probably indicates the difference in ability levels between the two sides. There are few stars in the Estonia side, and the presence of Motherwell's Henrik Ojamaa should give hope to the Scots, but they are hard working and won't be overrun by a fairly pedestrian Scotland side.
Darren Fletcher is a big miss in the centre of midfield and neither Charlie Adam, James Morrison nor Scott Brown have ever convinced at international level although the hope for Scots will be that Strachan can change this by implementing a style that is more than just a bank of five across the middle of the park.
However, that won't be done before Wednesday and it is likely that what will happen at Pittodrie, a stadium which is not conducive to free flowing football due to the winds from the North Sea, is that players will simply be asked to do a job and frequent substitutions will lead to a disjointed 90-minutes. That means that essentially Scotland will hope to win the game through a piece of inspiration in attack from either Jordan Rhodes, who is 11/2 at Coral
to open the scoring, or Steven Fletcher (11/2, Coral
) who home fans will hope to see playing in tandem.
That makes under 2.5 goals a realistic bet but odds of 7/10 with bet365
aren't too appealing and so it may be better to get a little more adventurous and back a couple of correct scores instead. Scotland probably won't score more than once against Estonia, who will be set up defensively and won't give much away and so it makes sense to go for 1-0 and 1-1 correct scores, at 9/2 and 13/2 respectively with bet365
. Those aren't the best odds available but the firm refund stakes if the match finishes goal-less, which is a very good insurance to have on a match that could end up being something of a damp squib.
Back Correct Scores of 1-0 Scotland and 1-1 @9/2 and 13/2 with bet365