By now Scotland manager Gordon Strachan more than likely knows his starting 11 for tomorrow’s match with Georgia but what team would you start with?
Both Allan McGregor and David Marshall have impressed for Strachan’s Scotland, while Craig Gordon looks to be getting back to his best with Celtic.
McGregor will miss the Georgia game through injury but Strachan still faces a dilemma over whether to stick with Marshall or recall Gordon, who clocked up 40 caps before injury problems ruled him out for two years.
Strachan seems fairly set on three of his back four with right back Alan Hutton and central defensive pairing of Russell Martin and Grant Hanley all but guaranteed names on the team sheet. The main defensive debate will come at left back where Strachan has employed Charlie Mugrew, Steven Whittacker and Andy Robertson during his time in charge. Mulgrew will miss this game through injury (and suspension) meaning Strachan will need to choose between the more experienced Whittaker or youngster Robertson, who has impressed since his move to Hull City in the English Premier League.
Strachan’s first decision in midfield will be whether to play one or two players in a holding midfielder position.
The manager has plenty of options in central positions with Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher perhaps the most likely to start while James Morrison and James McArthur have both started the season well in the English Premier League, Craig Bryson also continues to impress for Derby in the English Championship, while Strachan also has the temptation to field Sporting Lisbon youngster Ryan Gauld.
In wide positions Robert Snodgrass misses out through injury but with Ikechi Anya, Barry Bannan, Chris Burke, Graham Dorrans and Shaun Maloney all named in the squad Snodgrass shouldn’t be missed too much.
Fortunately Scotland are blessed with four strikers who are all in good goalscoring form. Steven Naismith has scored four goals in seven Premier League matches for Everton and Steven Fletcher netted a double for Sunderland on Saturday. In the Championship Chris Martin has continued where he left off last season with seven goals already this campaign while Stevie May has netted three times for Sheffield Wednesday since his move from St Johnstone.
The view from the office
We have all had our say, picking our own starting 11s – what do you think of them? Who would you select for Saturday’s match? See what you think about our teams and then send us your own teams via Facebook, Twitter and by commenting below and we will publish as many of the teams as we can.
Andy Skinner (Sports reporter)
The wide areas will be key with the pace and trickery of Barry Bannan and Ikechi Anya well supplemented by the full-backs who will both show intent to get forward. Steven Naismith will put in a tireless shift in the lone attacking role, and I’m confident Steven Fletcher can come on as a sub and inflict further damage on the Georgians thereafter.
Danny Law (Sports reporter)
The big decision for Gordon Strachan will be who plays in goal as Craig Gordon has been in superb form for Celtic but David Marshall didn’t do much wrong against Germany in our opening Group D match. I expect Marshall will get the nod but it is a nice selection headache for Strachan to have. I would like to see Hull City’s Andrew Robertson given a chance at left back and Steven Fletcher has to start after scoring two for Sunderland last weekend.
Andrew Clark (Online sports reporter)
I think Gordon Strachan has moulded a fairly consistent team but there is certainly an attacking midfield berth up for grabs due to Snodgrass’ absence – Shaun Maloney, Barry Bannan and Chris Burke have all played the role well previously, however, I have been impressed with the form of Graham Dorrans in recent weeks and I would give him a chance. The other decision Strachan has to make is between the sticks but with the quality both David Marshall and Craig Gordon posses, I am confident that whoever is selected to wear the gloves won’t let us down.
Martin Little (Online editor)
Steven Naismith has started the season incredibly for Everton and if he can produce a similar level of performance on Saturday I think we have a great chance. With Naismith, Steven Fletcher and Ikechi Anya all in the team we certainly carry a very dangerous goal threat.
Paul Third (Sports reporter)
Gordon Strachan’s Scotland team has been built on continuity and I cannot see that changing too much for the game against Georgia. David Marshall’s display against Germany in the last qualifier should earn him a start ahead of Celtic’s Craig Gordon while the defence and midfield will have a familiar look to it.
The return to form of Steven Fletcher for Sunderland at the weekend might just be enough to get him the nod up front with Everton’s Steven Naismith likely playing the supporting role from midfield. Expect Ikechi Anya to be the key man once again at Ibrox.
Steven Walsh (News reporter)
Steven Naismith. That is all.
The Everton striker is in great form at club level and I fancy him to be out match winner on Saturday. With Chris Burke, Ikechi Anya and James Morrison all supporting him, he will get plenty of chances and, with the form he is currently showing, I fancy him to take them.
Damian Bates (Editor-in-Chief)
Scotland looked good against Germany and I would play a similar team again, with James McArthur coming in for the unavailable Charlie Mulgrew and Stevie Fletcher replacing Barry Bannan to give the team more of a goal threat.
More Scotland v Georgia news
- Former Scotland boss confident of victory: Read Craig Brown’s thoughts on the game
- Striker expects Scotland to attack:
Stevie Naismith believes Gordon Strachan’s men will go for goals
- Georgia manager warns us his team aren’t that bad: Temuri Ketsbaia says Georgia can threaten Scotland
- Another Georgian disagrees with Ketsbaia:
Shota Arveladze fears lack of quality Georgia players
- Rangers player denied Ibrox return:
Zurab Khizanishvili denied Georgia return against Scotland