Slovenians will put up a huge fight
Defiant Slovenia coach Srecko Katanec has insisted he and his players will do everything in their power to spoil Scotland’s party in Ljubljana tonight.
Winners in their last three World Cup qualifying games, Gordon Strachan’s side can put themselves firmly in line to clinch a play-off berth by seeing off hosts who are all but out of contention.
For Slovenia to progress, they would need to beat Scotland at the Stozice Stadium and have rivals Slovakia face to take full points at home to Group F minnows Malta.
“Some of the Slovenian journalists who have been trying to undermine me over the past year aren’t here. But the expectations are the same as every other game,” said Katanec, who will quit at the end of the campaign due to “personal issues.”
“We still have a mathematical chance to qualify and, as long as that is the case, we will do our best.
“The Scotland team has strong characteristics. We know they will want to be as aggressive here as they would normally be at home. But I believe we can do our part and hope for the best in Slovakia.”
Scotland will face a weakened opponent with Valter Birsa, holder of 88 caps, and ex-Inter Milan midfielder, Rene Krhin, both banned.
They will, however, be up against the formidable Bostjan Cesar, who will win his 100th cap tonight and is in no mood to run up the white flag.
“Of course we want to win,” he said.“Firstly we know it because it might be the last match for our coach.
“And we have to believe we can finish second for as long as the chance exists.
“We have a chance because we are very strong at the back, as we have proved by not conceded at home in this campaign.”