Scotland boost hopes of World Cup qualification with late victory over Slovakia

Scotland players celebrate as Martin Skrtel of Slovakia scores an own goal for their first goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Group F Qualifier between Scotland and Slovakia at Hampden

Scotland boost hopes of World Cup qualification with late victory over Slovakia

Republic of Ireland fans will be keeping a close eye on proceedings in Ljubliana.

On a night where England confirmed top spot in Group F, Scotland moved up to second place in the table - and Gordon Strachan's side know a victory in Slovenia on Sunday will guarantee a spot in November's play-offs. It took us until very late in the game to beat them at Hampden.

"I'm probably the member of the squad who has suffered the most heartache playing for Scotland", the 33-year-old Stoke midfielder said.

"It means as much to everybody, it means as much to the whole country, I'm just a small part in that". I genuinely thought we were going to score a goal.

"I wasn't too bad to be honest with you".

'It doesn't matter how you get there, as long as you get there in the end.

Two of the sides' four previous encounters have resulted in draws, and you can get odds of 9/4 (3.25) on them cancelling each other out once again in this one.

Both were denied by the crossbar.

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The last time they crossed swords was in March when a last gasp Chris Martin strike sealed the win.

"This will be the biggest Scotland game I've been involved in since the game in 2007 against Italy where we had a chance to do something similar". Psychologically with them going down 10 men, we knew they would sit in and it would be down to us to break them down - but we did.

For those unaware, should the Scots fail to win away to Slovenia in the 5pm kick-off on Sunday, and Ireland managed to defeat Moldova and Wales, we would be safe and sound in the playoffs at their expense.

Despite their man advantage, Scotland, wearing pink, could not force a breakthrough, with Dubravka making impressive saves from Leigh Griffiths either side of half-time.

"Luckily, Kech (Ikechi Anya) has put in a great ball to the front post and Skrtel has ended up putting it in".

Since losing to England in a Euro 2016 Qualifier, Slovenia have lost just once at home in their last 10 matches (W6 D3) and have not conceded a goal in any of the last five games they have hosted. All these things are coming together.

"If we can do that we can go into Sunday full of belief". This is a massive three points but it's only halfway'. "It would have been a huge disappointment if we hadn't", he said.

"That momentum's definitely in our favour now".

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