Cyprus head coach Ran Ben Shimon is determined to put further pressure on a Scotland side he feels is already playing catch up in its bid to qualify for next summer’s EURO 2020 finals.
The Scots began their qualifying campaign with a humiliating 3-0 loss to Kazakhstan and an uninspiring 2-0 win over lowly San Marino, which led to the sacking of Alex McLeish.
Although the Scots are assured a place in next March’s play-offs through winning their Nations League section, Ben Shimon reckons the pressure is on the home side as they aim to revive their qualifying campaign under new boss Steve Clarke.
Former Israel international Ben Shimon said: “Pressure is all around us and I believe my players know how to handle pressure.
“It can work both ways as they have changed their manager.
“Scotland’s start to their qualifying campaign makes them chase after points.
“We know what is happening with them just now.
“Like us they have had a hard season and it is not easy after a long year, but I know that my guys are still hungry and they are very focused.
“I feel they understand the challenge and I have confidence in my players. This is a cruclal match for Scotland but we have our own targets.
“I feel they are ready for the challenge in this great arena.”
Cyprus skipper Pieros Sotiriou hopes his side can offset a lengthy injury list to spoil Clarke’s debut as Scots boss.
The Copenhagen attacker said: “We come here at a difficult time for the Scottish team.
“We know they have changed their manager. We are ready to fight for our team.
“We have a lot of injuries but we have a lot of new, young players who are ready to take up the challenge.
“Hopefully they can take their chance and play as well as they can.”