Friday, 7 October 2011
Hope is the main thing Scotland have going into the last two qualifiers for Euro 2012.
Hope that Scotland can defeat Liechstein in their own back yard and pick up something in the Alicante in Spain while Spain and Lithuania beat the Czech Republic so Scotland are in the play-off round of qualifying for Euro 2012.
Goals from Juan Mata and Xabi Alonso helped Spain to a 2-0 victory over Czech Republic tonight ensuring that a Scotland victory in Liechtenstein would leapfrog Scotland above the Czechs with only one game to play.
However the last game is in Spain and they will face a side who have won all seven qualifying games so far, are the reigning World champions and European champions and boast a reserve side of players like Fernando Torres, Juan Mata,David Silva, Cesc Fabregas and others of such quality never mind the players who are first choice!
Craig Levein's side must go into both games against Liechtenstein and Spain with the same mindset. That Scotland will win both games.
Six Points would ensure a play-off spot. It is a big ask and is probably building hopes up too high but it can be done.
Liechteinstein nearly caused a scare at Hampden before a last minute Steven McManus header gave Scotland a 2-1 victory but a win is a win and that is what the team must believe going in to the game against Liechtenstein. A 3-0 win would be great for morale but a 1-0 win is the same points as a 3-0 win and it would take Scotland up to second.
Spain will be a different matter and Scotland will have to expect to be on the back foot for most if not all of the game and will have to counter attack well against the World and European champions. Scotland have caused massive upsets before such as the Home and Away Double over France a few years ago and a performance like one of those nights will be needed in the Alicante.
It is a big ask for Craig Levein's side to get the six points but if Scotland have any chance of qualifying they must believe it is possible.
Here we go again building our hopes up for a fall,but just one of these days the hopes will pay off.
Hopefully this week!
Saturday, 1 October 2011
Dundee United vs Motherwell:
Tannadice will host an interesting tie when Dundee United Welcome Motherwell.
United sit eighth in the table six points behind third placed Motherwell but it is unlikely it will stay that way in the next few months.
Motherwell have seen their great start to the season seem to fizz out over the last few weeks but they will be hoping to build on their victory over Aberdeen last week and Stuart Mccall will hope his Well side can build some momentum with a win to try and hold on to third place in the table.
Peter Houston's side struggle to cope without last seasons star players like Conway, Goodwillie and Gomis but they have started to click together in the last few weeks and look like they could have a successful season if players like Russell and Daly keep fit.
This will be a close one i am going for a score draw.
Prediction: Dundee United 1 Motherwell 1
Inverness CT vs St Mirren:
What a contrast in these two teams this season.
Inverness and St Mirren last year were in the same area of the table fighting to avoid relegation. How times change.
Inverness sit bottom of the table and look set to be preparing for another relegation dogfight to try and survive in the SPL for another year.
St Mirren on the other hand sit fifth in the table and look like they have a real chance of making the top six this season after Danny Lennon has found a way to convert their good play into goals.
This will be a tough test for St Mirren but i think they will win the match to pile more pressure on Terry Butcher's Inverness side.
Prediction: Inverness 0 St Mirren 1
Kilmarnock vs St Johnstone:
Kenny Shiels will take his side into this match against St Johnstone trying to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat at Ibrox in Midweek.
Derek Mcinnes will also be regrouping his side after they were defeated 3-2 by Hibs in midweek and this could set up an intriguing tie between two teams eager for a win to gain some momentum back quickly.
St Johnstone's front two of Sandanza and Sheridan or "the SAS" have been on fire in recent weeks and they will be hoping to continue with goals against Kilmarnock.
Kilmarnock themselves have Heffernan up front who has scored his fair share this season as well and this could be a good game to watch.
I can see another score draw at Rugby Park.
Prediction Kilmarnock 2 St Johnstone 2
Rangers vs Hibernian:
Hibs have not played as well as they should have this season and tenth in the table is not where you would expect to see Hibs but Gary O Connor aside, Hibs have been poor this season.
Rangers will go into the game without Steven Naismith as he serves the second game of his two game ban and you could tell Rangers missed him in midweek against Kilmarnock even though they ran out 2-0 winners.
Rangers will also be weary of Hibs on a poor form. Last year a Hibs side came to Ibrox in poor form and ran out 3-0 winners to give Colin Calderwood his first victory as Hibs manager.
A repeat of last season is unlikely however and Rangers should be too strong for Hibs.
Prediction: Rangers 3 Hibs 0
Hearts vs Celtic:
Celtic could go into this game ten points behind Rivals Rangers and will be looking to quickly pull back three points with a win at Tynecastle which has not always been a happy Place for Celtic in recent years.
Hearts have not been at their best recently but Paulo Sergio's side is slowly improving and a win against Celtic would help the teams morale and show what many believe, that Hearts are still "the third best team in Scotland."
This will be a tight one but i think Celtic will edge this with maybe a late winner.
Prediction: Hearts 1 Celtic 2