Slovenia v Scotland 19:45 Wed
The pressure is off on Wednesday when Scotland will travel to Slovenia as part of this week’s international friendly fixtures as long odds underdogs with Ladbrokes as manager Craig Levein looks to develop his young side.
Both sides have failed to qualify for this year’s Euros and will be looking at the fixture as an opportunity to gel together in preparation for the next competition following miserable group stages.
Wednesday’s visitors only managed to win three of their group fixtures in qualifying and while Liechteinstein and Lithuania posed little threat to the Scots, Spain and Czech Republic simply proved two big a challenge for the team.
Craig Levein’s squad have several young prospects amongst their ranks such as James Forrest, Grant Hanley, Barry Bannan and David Goodwillie and will most likely hand them a chance when they go up against Slovenia this week.
Matt Phillips is likely to get his first taste of senior international football also, after recently opting to star for Scotland rather than England, much to the displeasure of club manager, Ian Holloway.
Gary Caldwell has been named as captain for the encounter on what will be his 50th international cap.
Both Darren Fletcher and Kenny Miller are out of the clash through illness and injury, respectively, meaning Levein will name the Wigan defender as leader for the night.
Slovenia were only slightly more successful in their group stage, recording four wins, two draws and four losses in qualifying. Big centre back Bostjan Cesar from Chievo will once again hold the back four together and the home side also have another man plying his trade in Italy with Genoa midfielder Valter Birsa, who is always a threat from set piece and much will depend on him to open up the Scottish defence.
Slaviša Stojanović’s side could face a tough fixture on Wednesday depending on which Scotland turn up. Robert Koren and Koln striker Milivoje Novakovic are out through injury , while PSV Eindhoven forward Tim Matavz is also struggling.
The Scots undoubtedly hold the potential for attractive football, displaying it during qualifying, however inconsistently.
Nevertheless, Slovenia head into the match as favourites and will strive to prove the bookmakers right when they line up against Scotland this week.