Scotland vs Cyprus: Head to head statistics
Scotland’s latest European Qualifiers campaign commences, so will this one end with heroics or heartbreak?
The Tartan Army have endured far too much of the latter in recent decades.
Back in 2020, the Dark Blues ended their 23-year exile from major tournaments, beating Israel and Serbia in the play-offs, both on penalties, thereby sneaking into the Euros.
Steve Clarke’s side were then ultra-impressive in World Cup qualifying, accumulating 23 points from ten group games, only to then be outplayed in their play-off semi-final by Ukraine.
So, the Tartan Army’s wait for a World Cup goes on, but these supporters would love to make the pilgrimage to Germany in June 2024.
Last year, Scotland responded well to missing out on Qatar, securing promotion to Nations League A, thanks to home wins over Armenia, Republic of Ireland and Ukraine.
Having won all seven previous encounters with Cyprus, the Dark Blues are confident of extending that streak here, although that’ll be a little tougher when Spain visited Mount Florida in Tuesday.
With the Spanish likely to take top spot, Scotland will be fighting it out with Norway for second; how big could their clash in Glasgow on the final matchday be?
Throw an improving Georgia into the mix too, Group A looks like the group of death, making maximum points in this opener of paramount importance.
As for Cyprus, this’ll be their 239th qualification match, having won just 35 to date.
Temur Ketsbaia’s side have claimed victory in just four of their last 25 competitive matches, these wins coming against Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia and Greece, all at home.
Their most-recent away victory came in Kazakhstan in October 2019, with that fact not likely to change here.
Will Scotland start with three crucial points at Hampden?
Scotland team news
Since Craig Gordon broke his leg on Christmas Eve, Steve Clarke has been faced with a bit of a goalkeeper crisis.
All three keepers in this squad are uncapped with Angus Gunn, who’s been called up for the first time, likely to make his debut.
Given that Gunn has made 28 appearances for England at youth level, his inclusion has been very divisive.
Aside from that, this XI will look very familiar.
Aaron Hickey could get the nod over Nathan Patterson while, with Jack Hendry and Scott McKenna injured, Ryan Porteous could win just his second cap, after being man of the match in the 0-0 draw with Ukraine.
Captain Andy Robertson’s most-recent international goal came when Cyprus last visited Hampden, a long-range screamer in June 2019.
11 of John McGinn’s 15 Scotland goals have come at Hampden, and he’ll be supporting the front two of Ché Adams and Lyndon Dykes here.
Predicted XI (5-3-2): Gunn; Patterson, Hickey, Hanley, Porteous, Tierney, Robertson; McTominay, McGregor, McGinn; Adams, Dykes.
Cyprus team news
Alex Gogić will be a familiar face to most in attendance; he’s currently at St Mirren after previously featuring in the Premiership for Hamilton Accies and Hibs.
Striker Pieros Sotiriou, who’s scored 12 times for his country, is out injured, a big blow.
So, the top-scorer in the squad is Demetris Christofi with eight, the most-recent of which came in 2017.
Ioannis Kousoulos will start at centre-back; he equalised when Cyprus were last in Glasgow, beaten 2-1 that day.
Predicted XI (5-4-1): Panagi; Antoniou, Kousoulos, Gogić, Antoniades, Ioannou; Kastanos, Artymatas, Loizou, Tzionis; Kakoullis.