Preview: Scotland vs. Finland

Scotland conclude their preparations for Euro 2024 by playing host to Finland in an international friendly on Friday night.

While the home side are going through their paces ahead of travelling to Germany, this is Finland’s last match before the UEFA Nations League which starts in September.

Match preview

After Scotland took almost an hour to open the scoring against international minnows on Gibraltar, it was inevitable that criticism would come their way.

On the back of seven matches without a win, the Tartan Army did not exactly enter the match in free-flowing form, instead searching for a convincing performance ahead of this game and the upcoming tournament.

From Steve Clarke’s perspective, though, he was quick to defend his players, feeling that they had been left “spooked” by the injury sustained by Lyndon Dykes that has ruled him out of Euro 2024.

The amount of players missing the competition has since been extended to five with Liverpool winger Ben Doak the latest to withdraw from the group, subsequently being replaced by Tommy Conway.

While Scotland playing at Hampden Park has not necessarily been a frequent occurrence of late, it has been almost 12 months since they won on home territory, a 2-0 triumph coming against Georgia.

Scotland head into this contest defending an eight-match unbeaten record against Finland, albeit having not squared off against the Scandinavian nation since 1998.

However, this feels like a stronger Finland side than Scotland would have faced 26 years ago, even with Markku Kanerva’s side missing out on Euro 2024.

The Eagle-Owls went down 4-1 to Wales in the playoff semi-finals, ending their hopes of a second consecutive appearance at a European Championship.

Since then, a 2-1 win has been posted against Estonia, before they finished strongly against Portugal earlier this week to only lose by a 4-2 scoreline.

In total, though, this is a team that has lost five of their most recent eight games, with one of their three victories coming against San Marino.

Finland did overcome Northern Ireland in convincing fashion as recently as November, prevailing 4-0, and that result will not be lost on their next opponents.

Team News

Ross McCrorie, Ryan Porteous, John McGinn and Lawrence Shankland all played 90 minutes against Gibraltar and realistically will drop down to the substitutes’ bench here.

Anthony Ralston, Scott McKenna, Callum McGregor and Che Adams are all in contention to start, as could Kieran Tierney in place of Andrew Robertson.

Goalkeeper Angus Gunn may get the nod between the sticks, while John Souttar, Scott McTominay and Stuart Armstrong could be used in the second half after missing the game with Gibraltar.

While fewer alterations may be made to the Finland side, veteran Teemu Pukki can expect to start after his two goals against Portugal.

Leo Vaisanen and Robin Lod – two other players who play in MLS – could also return in defence and midfield respectively.

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