Andrew Robertson

Albania vs Scotland betting tips: UEFA Nations League match preview & predictions

Albania vs Scotland prediction: Albania 1-1 Scotland

A massive night for both in Shkodër.

In league C1, anyone could still go up and anyone could still go down.

It could hardly be any tighter.

With Israel at Hampden to come, Scotland cannot afford another slip up on their travels.

Can Scotland win away to a team ranked in the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2013?

Hampden Park

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JUNE 07: A general view during the Scotland training session at Hampden Park on June 7, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Albania vs Scotland: Who will win?

It’s a tough game to call.

Albania are slight underdogs at 19/10 to win.

Scotland are 13/8 to leave Stadiumi Loro Boriçi with a victory.

A draw is priced at 2/1.

Both sides struggle in front of goal and under 2.5 goals is 1/2.

Both teams to score NO is evens.

Bekim Balaj will lead the line for the home side and is 13/2 to score first and 5/2 to net anytime.

Johnny Russell will be Scotland’s biggest threat. The SKC forward is 15/2 to score first and 11/4 to score anytime.

Both Russell and James Forrest to score is 16/1.

Albania vs Scotland: Match preview

Despite such a promising start, Albania are in danger of being relegated to League D in the UEFA Nations League.

Taulant Xhaka’s first ever international goal was enough to see them beat Israel at home way back on matchday 1.

However, three days later, they lost in the reverse fixture 2-0 at Hampden.

Then, last month, they were beaten again by the same 2-0 scoreline, this time in Be’er Sheva by Israel.

Before that, they could only draw 0-0 with a very average Jordanian team; their troubles in front of goal continue.

In fact, they’ve failed to score in 8 of their last 12 international stretching back 14 months.

They’ll have to be better than they were in Glasgow so will returning for a home game result in a return to form for Christian Panucci’s side?

Nations League live streaming

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 24: Feature of the UEFA Nations League logo during the UEFA Nations League Draw 2018 at Swiss Tech Convention Center on January 24, 2018 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)

Scotland’s form hasn’t been much better.

Their UEFA Nations League campaign did get off to the perfect start with that 2-0 win over Albania in September.

However, the Tartan Army came crashing down to earth in Haifa.

Despite taking the lead, Scotland lost 2-1 to Israel to leave them with a lot of work to do in this competition.

This season they’ve also had two moral crushing defeats; 4-0 to Belgium and 3-1 to Portugal.

However, there is still hope.

A win or even a draw in Shkodër in this fixture followed by a victory over Israel on Tuesday night and they’ll finish top of the group.

Sounds easy right?

Scotland never do things the easy way.

Can they get the result they need to reignite their Euro 2020 dream?

Albania team news vs Scotland

Albania, like all national teams, have had a few withdrawals but the majority of their squad is available for this fixture.

Etrit Berisha of Atalanta had been his country’s number 1 for many years but Lazio’s Thomas Strakosha has taken over in recent fixtures.

Mërgim Mavraj,who plays for Greek Super League side Aris Thessaloniki, captains the side.

Basel’s Taulant Xhaka has scored their only UEFA Nations League goals thus far, will that change?

They are without winger Jahmir Hyka of San Jose Earthquakes through injury.

Also, the squad’s top scorer Armando Sadiku of Levante is a long term absentee.

This means that Bekim Balaj is the sides top international scorer with just 4 goals.

He’ll be joined up front by a man who should know the opposition very well.

Rangers’ Eros Grezda will be looking to shine; he’s starting to settle in in Glasgow after joining in August.

It’s not a team blessed with talent so do they have enough to defeat Scotland?

Scotland team news vs Albania

Scotland flag

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JANUARY 31: The Scottish flag is seen during the Scottish League Cup Semi-Final match between Dundee United and Aberdeen at Hampden Park on January 31, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

As for Alex McLeish, he is without a staggering fifteen players who would all be in the squad if available.

Three goalkeepers are missing but luckily number 1 Allan McGregor is not one of them.

The 36 year-old has been in magnificent form for Rangers, proving age is just a number.

Defenders Charlie Mulgrew, Mikey Devlin, Stephen O’Donnell and John Souttar are all injured leaving Scotland really short at the back.

Jack Hendry, who hasn’t featured much for Celtic this season, will be called upon and win his fourth cap.

Fellow centre-back David Bates, of Hamburg, could also be in line for his debut.

With no obvious option to play right wing-back, Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser will have to fill in there as he has done previously.

There may be no Kevin McDonald, Robert Snodgrass, Tom Cairney, Scott McTominay, John McGinn, Jamie Murphy or Matt Ritchie but they do still have some options in midfield.

Callum McGregor has shone in a deep playmaker role for Celtic in the last month and will be asked to do a similar job here.

His Celtic teammate, James Forrest has been in superb form too.

He’s bagged 9 goals and 12 assists for his club this season.

Likewise Ryan Christie.

He will surely win just his fourth cap after his sensational recent form.

Up front, Steven Naismith and Leigh Griffiths are both miss out through injury.

That means that Johnny Russell will lead the line.

He’s scored 12 goals for Sporting Kansas City this season helping them qualify for the Western Conference Finals last Sunday night.

He’s just three games away from being crowned MLS Cup Champions.

McLeish will hope that this group of players he does have at his disposal have enough to leave Albania with at least a point.

Do they?

Predicted Albania team vs Scotland

Predicted Albania line up vs Scotland

Predicted Scotland team vs Albania

Predicted Scotland line up vs Albania

The latest tweets from Albania pre Scotland

The latest tweets from Scotland pre Albania

All odds mentioned in this article are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

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Scotland to beat Albania & both teams to score: 9/2!