By Ian S Palmer
Scotland travels to the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi on Friday, September 4 as they take on Georgia in a Group D Euro 2016 qualifying contest. A win by Scotland could go a long way in their qualifying hopes as they currently sit in third place in the group with 11 points on three wins, two draws and a loss and have outscored the opposition 12-6. With Poland and Germany, the top two teams in the group facing off the same day, Scotland has an excellent chance to sneak into second place in the group. This could be crucial since the top two nations in each group will automatically qualify for the European Championships in France next summer.
Unbeaten Poland leads the group with 14 points and is followed closely by Germany with 13. The Republic of Ireland is just two behind Scotland with nine while Georgia has three points from a win and five losses. The Georgians have scored four goals and conceded 13 in their six games. Gibraltar is pointless and sits in last place. Scotland needs as many points as possible since the best third-place team in the qualifying stages also makes the tournament with an automatic qualification and the rest of the third-place sides will enter a playoff round.
bet365 Soccer Betting – Georgia vs Scotland
- bet365 lists Scotland as the current favorites at even money while Georgia is 7/2 and a draw is 9/4
HEAD TO HEAD:
- Kakhaber Tskhadadze is gunning for his first win as Georgia manager. The two teams met earlier in the group qualifying stage with Scotland edging Georgia 1-0 at home in Glasgow in October. It may have been a lucky three points since Scotland won the contest via an own goal by Georgia defender Akaki Khubutia back in October. The teams have met three times in the past with Scotland winning two and losing one and each team scoring three goals. Scotland won the first meeting 2-1 in Glasgow in 2007 and Georgia won the return game a few months later 2-0. Scotland of course won the third game 1-0 in October.
Georgia goes into the game with a couple of players facing suspension if they receive another yellow card. These are Jaba Kankava and Murtaz Daushvili, so they’ll need to make sure they’re not overly aggressive during the contest. There are also two Scottish players who find themselves in the same position with midfielder James Morrison and defender Grant Hanley just a yellow card away from a one-game ban in their next fixture.
Georgia has lost their last three Group D outings and has been shutout in all three of them. Former manager Temuri Ketsbaia was let go after the first loss of the streak and he was replaced by Kahkaber Tshkadadze. The new manager has his work cut out for him as Georgia is winless in their past half a dozen competitive home matches with five defeats and a draw. Their last home triumph took place in September of 2012 when they edged Belarus 1-0. Georgia has scored just one goal in their six-game home winless string which came when Tornike Okriashvili netted one against the Republic of Ireland. It’s the only home marker the team has in close to three years.
Scotland enters the encounter on a pretty good roll as they haven’t lost in their last five qualifying games. They lost their first game of the group stage 2-1 in Germany and haven’t been beaten since. They haven’t won on the road yet though, with a pair of draws to accompany the loss in Germany. Georgia doesn’t have a realistic chance to reach Euro 2016, but Scotland does and that should be the motivation for a win or draw on Friday.