Slovenia vs Scotland Preview: Strachan's men storm from nowhere to give themselves play-off shot

A win will send Scotland into a high stakes clash next month, but it's not guaranteed that they'll pick up all three points.

Slovenia vs Scotland Preview: Strachan's men storm from nowhere to give themselves play-off shot
Strachan will passionately drive his team on from the side (photo: Getty Images / Steve Welsh)

Scotland face a tough task to complete the most unlikely of turnaround's and make the November play-off's for a place at the FIFA World Cup in Russia next year.

Gordon Strachan's side face Slovenia away from home on Sunday, fully in the knowledge that a win will secure them second place in Group F and therefore a shot at a World Cup place next month.

Scottish turnaround meets final test

Having taken just four points from their opening four qualifying games, there didn't look to be much hope for Strachan's side before they embarked on an impressive five game unbeaten run.

Wins against Sunday's opponents plus Slovakia, Lithuania and Malta were complimented by a decent point at home to England, leaving Scotland two points ahead of Slovakia (3rd) and three ahead of Slovenia (4th) going into the final set of group fixtures.

Slovakia have a better goal difference and head-to-head record over Scotland, so should the Scots only get a point, they'd likely drop below Slovakia who are expected to thrash Malta.

However, a win would send them to 20 points and secure second place in the group ahead of a play-off against another runner up during November.

Still, it won't be easy. Slovenia, despite being three points off Scotland, have little chance of finishing second now, but are yet to concede a home goal in qualifying. 

Only winning one of their five away games has left them all but out of the main picture, but impressive home results such as beating Slovakia 1-0 and drawing 0-0 against England will put fear into Scotland fans. 

Still, given they've more to play for than their opponents, it could be motivation that drives Scotland on come kick-off.

Boss well aware of pressure

Manager Strachan is well aware of the pressure, saying; "We know how important it is to everybody because we're getting texts and emails wishing us good luck from friends and people we haven't heard from in a while.

"These players are used to it. It's a big game but I don't think I should shield them from anything. You can enjoy the media frenzy, the excitement of other people."

Strachan may well go with the same side that defeated Slovakia earlier in the week, Ryan Fraser is the only absentee as injury forced him to return to Bournemouth