Alex McLeish’s side may be guaranteed a shot at the play-offs but will still want to progress on their own terms to next year’s tournament

Scotland will look to take the momentum of their Nations League promotion through to the European Championships next year as they begin their qualification campaign with a trip to Kazakhstan.

Alex McLeish’s visitors are nominally the third seeds in Group I behind Belgium and Russia, but at the very least are still guarenteed a spot in the play-offs thanks to their exploits at the end of 2018.

Having not qualified for a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France, McLeish knows he will have his work cut out, but if his side can take three points away from the Astana Arena, then they will have given themselves a real shot in the arm.

Michal Bilek’s side have been in action more recently than their visitors, having faced Moldova last month – but with a gulf of 77 places in the FIFA World Rankings between the pair, they remain the outsiders even on home turf.

Game Kazakhstan vs Scotland
Date Thursday, March 21
Time 3:00pm GMT / 11:00am ET


In the United States (US), the game will be broadcast on Univision Deportes En Vivo and can be livestreamed via ESPN3.

US TV channel Online stream
Univision Deportes En Vivo ESPN3

In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event and can be livestreamed via the Sky Go app.

UK TV channel Online stream
Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Football Sky Go


Position Kazakhstan squad
Goalkeepers Pokatilov, Nepohodov, Shatsky
Defenders Logvinenko, Malyi, Suyumbayev, Beisebekov, Miroshnichenko, Erlanov
Midfielders Islamkhan, Kuat , Muzhikov, Tungyshbayev, Zhukov, Zaynutdinov, Fedin, Merkel
Forwards Shchotkin, Murtazayev, Turysbek, Seidakhmet, Pertsukh

Kazakhstan starting XI: Nepogodov; Maliy, Postnikov, Erlanov; Vorogovskiy, Pertsukh, Kuat, Merkel, Suyumbayev; Zainutdinov, Murtazayev

Position Scotland squad
Goalkeepers Bain, Kelly, McLaughlin
Defenders Bates, Findlay, McKenna, O’Donnell, Palmer, Robertson, Souttar, Tierney
Midfielders Armstrong, Fleck, McGinn, McGregor, McLean, McTominay, Paterson, Shinnie
Forwards Burke, Forrest, Fraser, McBurnie, McNulty, Morgan, Russell

Scotland starting XI: Bain; Palmer, Bates, McKenna, Shinnie; McGregor, McGinn, Armstrong; Forrest, McBurnie, Burke



Scotland are the odds-on favourites at 4/5 according to bet365 . Kazakhstan are available at 15/4, while a draw is priced at 12/5.

Click here to see more offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.



Though they may have been absent from Russia for a World Cup to remember last year, Scotland still ended 2018 on a high to bolster their chances of securing a first major tournament in over two decades.

Alex McLeish, newly installed for his second spell in charge of the national side, took his team to the top of their group in Nations League over Israel and Albania, earning promotion from C to B ahead of the next edition.

Attention now turns squarely to securing a place at the 2020 European Championships, with the added safety cushion that should they fail to progress from Group I, they will have a second chance through the play-off route.

With Hampden Park in Glasgow set to be one of 12 host cities next year too, the incentive to secure a return to top-level international competition is big for Scotland, as they travel to Astana to begin their campaign against Kazakhstan.

Michal Bilek’s side are ranked 77 places below their visitors and are indeed the underdogs on their own turf, but having beaten Moldova last month, will have the added advantage of cohesive match fitness over McLeish’s team.

The visitors have also been left without captain Andy Robertson after the Liverpool defender was forced to have an operation on his mouth.

The 25-year-old has been a stand-out for both club and country this season and was one of the driving forces behind Scotland’s successful Nations League campaign.

Others who have been forced to withdraw from the squad include Jordan Archer, Barry Bannan and Charlie Mulgrew, with Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly and Kilmarnock defender Stuart Findlay both drafted in to the travelling party.

Following their trip east, Scotland will return home via San Marino for their second qualifier, where they will expect to pick up another three points against the nation ranked bottom in the world.

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