Scotland v Czech Republic – preview, team news & stats

Ryan Fraser impressed in the second half against Slovakia on Sunday
Ryan Fraser impressed in the second half against Slovakia on Sunday
Venue: Hampden Park Date: Wednesday 14 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen live on Radio Scotland & online; text commentary on BBC Sport website & app; watch highlights on Sportscene

Scotland aim to stretch their lead at the top of Nations League Group B2 against nearest rivals Czech Republic at Hampden on Wednesday.

After three matches, Steve Clarke’s side are one point in front of the visitors.

The Scots opened with a home draw against Israel and beat Slovakia on Sunday, with victory away to the Czechs in between.

However, the Czechs, who have won on their travels in Israel and Slovakia, had to hastily assemble a whole new squad for that 2-1 loss in September in line with coronavirus protocols.

Scotland are unbeaten in seven games now, with the next fixture a European Championship play-off final in Serbia on 12 November.

Group B2

Team news

Scotland captain Andy Robertson is suspended after picking up two yellow cards and John Fleck is out with a back problem.

Hibs defender Paul Hanlon was added to the squad on Monday as cover for Liam Cooper, who has returned to Leeds after picking up an injury in the play-off semi-final success against Israel last week.

Defenders Kieran Tierney, Liam Palmer and Scott McKenna had to drop out of the original pool for a rare triple-header, along with Stuart Armstrong, Ryan Christie and Oliver Burke.

David Marshall, Scott McTominay and Declan Gallagher, have played every minute of both previous matches, with John McGinn and Stephen O’Donnell not far behind after late substitutions.

Czech Republic had five Covid-related withdrawals prior to Sunday’s win in Israel, including captain Borek Dockal.

One more player has tested positive since, along with head coach Jaroslav Silhavy, with Tomas Malinsky, Michal Sacek, Tomas Poznar and Michael Rabusic called up for the trip to Glasgow.

Only Filip Nguyen and Tomas Malinksy remain from the makeshift squad assembled for Scotland’s win in Olomouc last month.

What do we know about the Czechs?

They may only be four places above Scotland in the current world rankings (at 45), but the Czech Republic boast a far superior record when it comes to getting to major tournaments.

Having reached the final in 1996, following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, they have qualified for every European Championship since.

Should Scotland end their long wait with a win over Serbia next month, they will be in the same group as the Czechs – and England and Croatia – at next summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020.

There has only been one World Cup journey for Czech Republic, back in 2006, when they failed to get past the group stage.

There are no star names to rival former heroes Pavel Nedved, Tomas Rosicky, Vladimir Smicer, Karel Poborsky and Petr Cech, but the team is packed full of experience, with the likes of Bundesliga duo Vladimir Darida and Pavel Kaderabek, while powerful midfielder Tomas Soucek has been impressive for West Ham.

What they said

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