Scotland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2012 were severely dented on Saturday by Dutch referee Kevin Blom, who awarded a controversial late penalty to Czech Republic denying Craig Levein’s men a crucial victory at Hampden Park. Mathematically however, the Scots can still finish second and they can keep their hopes alive by beating Lithuania.
Unbeaten in four meetings with Raimondas Zutautas’ side having recorded three wins and a draw, Scotland are worthy favourites at 8/13 with bet365, especially as they enjoy home advantage and the visitors have lost seven of their last eight on the road.
In addition, Lithuania have struggled for goals and indeed they failed to break down Liechtenstein last time out, so a home win ‘to nil’ at 7/5 (Paddy Power) isn’t without appeal while Coral mark 6/1 against a 2-0 success for Levein’s side.
David Goodwillie will be given an opportunity to impress in attack in the absence of the suspended Kenny Miller and price the Blackburn striker at 11/2 to break the deadlock.
Ireland were frustrated against Slovakia on Friday, only managing a draw but Giovanni Trapattoni’s men are still in the hunt for qualification and a victory in Russia would see them move into top spot in Group B.
On the other hand, defeat would be disastrous for the Irish, who are Boylesports’ 4/1 outsiders but given their fairly solid form on the road, Trapattoni’s charges can land a share of the spoils, a result rated by Skybet at 13/5. It’s a game that doesn’t promise goals and indeed, another 0-0 stalemate catches the eye at 15/2 (William Hill).
Finally, Northern Ireland are Coral’s 21/10 outsiders as they head to Estonia, where the hosts are the pick at 6/4 with Stan James following their impressive 2-1 away triumph in Slovenia last time out. Nigel Worthington is missing a host of crucial players for the Tallinn contest and they could also find it difficult to pick themselves up after the demoralising defeat to Serbia on Friday.
Scotland to beat Lithuania ‘to nil’ – 7/5 (Paddy Power)
David Goodwillie to score first – 11/2 ()
Ireland to draw with Russia – 13/5 (Skybet)
Estonia to beat Northern Ireland – 6/4 (Stan James)