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Albania vs Scotland: McLeish's men to bring down Eagles

Albania vs Scotland Match Preview and Predictions

Scotland need to win both of their matches over the next few days to be promoted from Group C of the Nations League.

[All odds correct at time of publication]

Alex McLeish's men start their double header with Saturday's trip to Albania, whom they beat at Hampden Park a couple of months ago.

The Scots then host current leaders Israel three days later for a match which could determine the winner of the group.

Match information

When is it? Saturday 17th November

What time is kick-off? 19:45

Where is it being played? Loro Borici Stadium

Which channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Event

Albania vs Scotland Betting Tips

Here are our three best bets for the Nations League game:

The lowdown

Scotland take on Albania with both nations on three points although the visitors have played one game fewer than their opponents and Israel, who top the group with six points.

Back in September the Scots were comfortable 2-0 winners thanks to a couple of Steven Naismith headers, the first of which took a deflection off a defender and was accredited as an own goal.

Scotland outshot the visitors 25-6 and 6-2 for efforts on target, but both teams go into the match in poor form.

The Scots' 3-1 defeat by Portugal made it five defeats from six with their sole success coming aganst Albania, who have lost five from seven and failed to score in their last three games.

Goals are likely to be in short supply on Saturday, especially with McLeish losing many experienced players to injury over the weekend.

The Nations League odds on under 2.5 goals are 8/15 but instead we favour Scotland to win and under 3.5 goals at 15/8.

Despite losing some key players, Scotland were head and shoulders above the Albanians at Hampden Park and can pick up another three points against a team that will be relegated if they fail to win.

First goalscorer tips

Ryan Fraser has been in scintillating form for Bournemouth and though he has yet to score in his four appearances for Scotland, we fancy the midfielder to break the deadlock at 10/1.

Fraser has scored three Premier League goals and opened the scoring in both matches when he found the net.

Albania need to chase the game from the off and that could play into the hands of a player with Fraser's calibre and pace.

Anytime goalscorer tips

Andrew Robertson has yet to score this season for club or country but the Liverpool left-back has two goals for Scotland from 26 appearances and looks great value at 12/1 as an anytime scorer.

Robertson loves bombing forward and scored in Scotland's 3-0 win in Lithuania last year to add to his consolation in a 3-1 defeat by England four years ago.

Where the game will be won or lost

The onus will be on Albania to attack on Saturday but having failed to score against Scotland, Jordan and Israel in their last three games we're not expecting a feast of goals at the Loro Borici Stadium.

Albania don't have too many household names but centre-back Berat Djimsiti scored in Atalanta's impressive 4-1 win against Inter Milan at the weekend, while striker Eros Grezda bagged a double in Rangers' 7-1 demolition job on Motherwell.

It was Djimsiti that put Scotland in front with an own goal two months ago early in the second half after a goalless opening 45 minutes.

With Scotland losing so many players to injury, a goalless first half looks a decent prospect as the next of our Albania vs Scotland predictions at 31/20 bearing in mind Albania's last two home games have been 0-0 at the break.

Finally, we like the look of 10/1 on the first goal being scored between 51-60 minutes. It took until the 47th minute for the deadlock to be broken at Hampden Park but we're expecting Albania to come out of their shells after the break if the game is deadlocked.

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Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Football