Scotland take on Portugal in an international friendly at Hampden Park later in what will be a serious test for Alex McLeish and his side. The hosts have struggled under the former Rangers manager who is in his second spell in charge of the Tartan Army. They head into this game on the back of a very poor 2-1 defeat in Israel, where they were outplayed for large parts and the narrow scoreline didn’t tell the whole story.
For Portugal, there are no such issues heading into this game. Fernando Santos’ men are in fine form and arrive in Glasgow on the back of a 3-2 win in Poland in what was a convincing display. This is a new era for Portugal with several younger players given a chance, whilst Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t been included either but they have coped very well without him, with those looking to impress taking that opportunity.
Scotland vs Portugal Prediction: Scotland 0-2 Portugal
As this is a friendly, you can’t be sure at the XI’s which will take to the field but we know that both managers will rotate to give those in the fringes a chance. And, simply put, Portugal have much more depth and quality to their side. Scotland don’t seem to have an identity under McLeish, they have no clear style of play and are lacking quality in both boxes. Meanwhile, Portugal will still have many recognised names out there and that should be enough to secure a relatively comfortable win.
Our recommended tip: Portugal Win
Betting on friendlies can be difficult because, as mentioned, changes are regularly made and you can sometimes question if the players want to be there. However, with the mood around Scottish football concerning the national team it does seem like the ideal time to be playing them. Hampden Park is a fantastic venue, with a good pitch but there will be lots of empty seats and it won’t be hostile, which will suit Portugal. As said, they have superior players, who know they need to impress to retain their spot.
As you would expect, this is a fixture that Portugal have had the better of over the years, winning seven of the previous 14 games, to Scotland’s four. And, that is more impressive in recent years, with the Iberian nation unbeaten in this fixture since 1980, although this will be the first game between the sides since 2002.
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Players to watch: Andrew Robertson & Renato Sanches
The Liverpool left-back has been named captain under McLeish, which reflects his status as arguably the best player in the squad. However, Scotland have an issue with Kieran Tierney, another left-back, also a standout player. But, the Celtic man is out today, so Robertson will play in his natural position and should thrive there. He will look to get forward at every opportunity and could drive the side on, even from his defensive position.
For the visitors, Bayern Munich’s Sanches is sure to start. After a very tough year, which included a failed loan spell with Swansea, the former Benfica man is starting to show what all the fuss is about. In terms of ability, he has it all and is a real class act from midfield. The issue has bene finding consistency but despite Bayern’s poor start to the campaign, he is doing well. He will be in from the off here and it’sa big chance to cement a spot moving forward.