Scotland: Qatar to be opposition in Easter Road friendly

Qatar players celebrate after beating Slovenia
Qatar beat Slovenia 1-0 in their last outing

Qatar have been confirmed as Scotland's opposition for a 5 June friendly at Easter Road Stadium in Edinburgh.

Manager Gordon Strachan says he was keen to arrange a warm-up match before the Euro 2016 qualifier against Republic of Ireland eight days later.

It is regarded as essential to keeping the players fit with the Scottish Premiership and the top two tiers in England having finished in May.

"The match will give us competitive match time," said Strachan.

"We are all looking forward to the next fixture in the European qualifiers and, given the June fixture arrives at a difficult time for ourselves and the Republic of Ireland, essentially between the end of the current season and prior to the start of next season, it is important we plan as meticulously as we can while realising that we won't know the full picture in terms of our squad's individual circumstances until May.

"We will ensure those [players] whose seasons finish in early May will have a fitness programme to work on over the break, those involved in play-offs have adequate recovery and maintenance, and those who may be involved in the Scottish Cup final or FA Cup final also have a programme tailored to their needs."

Qatar have won their last two internationals, both 1-0 at home, beating Algeria and then Slovenia to move up 37 places to 99th in the world rankings.

Ireland's Darron Gibson challenges Scotland's Charlie Mulgrew
Scotland beat Republic of Ireland 1-0 at Celtic Park in November

Scotland have moved up 10 places to 29th after last month's victories over Northern Ireland and Gibraltar, although the latter win did not count as their opponents are not recognised by football's world governing body.

Their rise up the rankings has boosted their chances of being included in pot two for the 2018 World Cup qualification draw, which is made in Saint Petersburg on 25 July.

However, that will depend largely on the result in Dublin as even a win over Qatar might not help their cause.

The 6-1 victory at home to Gibraltar took Strachan's side into third place in Euro qualifying Group D, just behind second-placed Germany on goal difference, before the visit to Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

The match against Qatar will have a 19:45 BST kick-off.

Qatar will use the FA's national football centre at St George's Park as their base for the match against Scotland and their challenge match against Northern Ireland on 31 May.

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