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Summary

  1. Slovakia host Scotland on Tuesday night
  2. Scotland sit second in World Cup qualifying Group F
  3. England top group with six points
  4. Scotland and Slovenia have four points apiece
  5. Irn Bru Cup quarter-final draw

Live Reporting

By Keir Murray

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Goodbye

Remember to tune in to Sportsound for a good chat on Scotland and what needs to be done in Slovakia tomorrow.

We'll leave you with the thoughts of manager Gordon Strachan.

Join us again tomorrow for all of the build up to a key World Cup qualifier.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan on Slovakia's change of playing style since Euro 2016

Tune in to Sportsound

Sportsound is on BBC Radio Scotland from 18:30. Tonight's guests are Barry Ferguson, Steven Thompson and Steven Pressley, along with the Daily Mail's Stephen McGowan and some guy called Chick Young...

There's only one topic this evening; Scotland.

.@SFA_Supporters we want your thoughts on the team, the manager and our qualification hopes on @BBCSportsound tonight. Call 0500 92 95 00.

Gerry Gow dies aged 64

Former Bristol City and Manchester City midfielder and Yeovil Town player-boss Gerry Gow has died aged 64 after being diagnosed with cancer this year.

The Scot, who also played for Rotherham and Burnley, made 445 appearances for Bristol City, becoming a club legend, before joining Manchester City in 1981.

Read more...

Second is target for Scotland

More from Scotland manager Gordon Strachan...

"I've had ideas for two months of what I was going to do (against Slovakia) but suddenly they have changed their tactics so we have had to have a rethink.

"I watched them a couple of times at the Euros and they went 4-3-3 but now it's drastically different, the wide men have gone.

"Most of us expect England to win the group, but it a crazy gang here (in the group). We will definitely try to get second. If we can win it, great, but second is the target for us."

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan
SNS

'There will be changes' - Strachan

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan says he will prepare a team which includes Darren Fletcher and one that assumes the captain won't make it.

"It's good news that he's going to have a fitness test," said Strachan at Monday's media conference.

"I actually thought it was a thigh strain at half time (at Hampden against Lithuania) but it was a knock on his thigh. We'll put the final touches tomorrow. We're fine, we're good, we're looking forward to it.

"There are going to be changes because we thought it was going to be a rough-and-tumble game, which it was. It was more like a Championship game. We did pick up a few knocks. We had ideas for two months what we were going to do (against Slovakia) but they have dramatically changed their system so we've had to have a good rethink from Saturday night."

The Slovaks played 4-3-3 at Euro 2016, with two wide men, says the Scotland boss, but the hosts have now altered their formation.

Skipper Fletcher on the mend

Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher says he will not train tonight, but he is desperate to play tomorrow. It's a case of "fingers crossed", he says. 

Fletcher went off with a thigh strain on Saturday at half-time of the match against Lithuania.

"If the manager wants me to play I'll be out there doing my best," says the Scotland skipper.

"There was initial disappointment. It was a game we expected to win. We see it as a slightly missed opportunity but at the same time we showed great character to get the equalising goal. it might turn out to be a massive point. We are still second in the group. We come here confident because Slovakia aren't in a good place just now. With them being second seeds in the group, to come here and win would be massive. Even if we come here and not lose it would put us in a strong position in the group. We are still right in this group. There's still a long way to go and we still believe in ourselves. There are lots of things that can improve."

Scotland captain Darren Fletcher
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Scotland captain Darren Fletcher is resting his thigh after sustaining an injury while making his 75th appearance for the national team on Saturday

Our commentator's in place nice and early

2018 World Cup qualifying: Liam McLeod's Slovakia-Scotland preview

There will be one very unhappy runner-up

Of the 32 teams who will compete at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, there will be 14 European teams including the hosts. 

All the winners from the nine European qualifying groups go through to the finals automatically.

Worryingly - one suspects for Scotland's group - of the nine group runners-up, only eight nations go into the play-offs to determine the remaining four European spots.

The Uefa website states: "The eight runners-up with the best record against the teams first, third, fourth and fifth in their groups proceed to play-offs to decide the remaining four European berths".

So most likely the scores against Malta won't count, but if Scotland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Slovenia all take points off one another, it's possible that the lowest-placed runner-up could be one of those four nations.

Which makes a win in Trnava all the more important tomorrow night, methinks.

The scoreboard at Hampden shows Scotland and Lithuania earned a point apiece on Saturday
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The scoreboard at Hampden shows Scotland and Lithuania earned a point apiece on Saturday

Irn Bru Cup quarter-finals

The Challenge Cup draw is as follows:

Livingston v The New Saints 

Queen of the South v Alloa Athletic 

St Mirren v Ayr United 

Dunfermline Athletic v Dundee United 

The ties will be played over the weekend of November 12/13.  

Challenge Cup
SNS

'Scotland pressing can disrupt Slovakia'

Scotland can get a positive result in Slovakia if they employ a high-tempo strategy, says Steven Pressley.

The former international defender watched Slovakia lose in Slovenia on Saturday, providing a report for Scotland manager Gordon Strachan.

"If you allow them to get a rhythm, they can be a very effective team," Pressley told BBC Scotland.

"Slovenia were aggressive out of possession, they pressurised them and didn't allow them to settle."

Read more...

Barry Bannan and James McArthur
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Barry Bannan and James McArthur might be in for a busy night in the Scotland engine room

Challenge Cup draw coming up

Following the weekend's Irn Bru Cup action, the quarter-final draw will be made at 14:00 this afternoon.

Here are the eight teams still standing:

The New Saints, Dundee United, St Mirren, Queen of the South, Livingston, Alloa Athletic, Dunfermline Athletic, Ayr United.

Slovakia's ones to watch

We'll bring you the opinions soon of Steven Pressley, who was Scotland's "spy" at the Slovenia-Slovakia match on Saturday. He's been talking to BBC Scotland reporter Heather Dewar. In the meantime, here are a few players Al Lamont has picked out as posing a danger to Scotland's chances in Trnava.

Discover Slovakia's one's to watch.

Jan Durica
Getty Images
Trabzonspor's Jan Durica's pace is fading but he is still a dominant defender

Kenny Mac, anchorman

.@SFA_Supporters we want your thoughts on the team, the manager and our qualification hopes on @BBCSportsound tonight. Call in 0500 92 95 00

Return of the Mac

Jackie McNamara's time in the beautiful city of York is coming to an end.

York City said in a statement: "The chairman has asked Jackie to train and prepare the team until a suitable candidate has been determined." 

City boss Jackie McNamara had offered to resign if the team did not get a "positive result" at Braintree on Saturday. They drew 1-1.

The club expect to appoint a new boss in a fortnight.

Full story.

York City manager Jackie McNamara
Getty Images
Jackie McNamara took over as York City manager 11 months ago

Lubo's take on Slovakia

Former Celtic midfielder Lubomir Moravcik was on Sportsound on Sunday discussing Slovakia's performance against Slovenia. 

The Slovak told BBC BBC Scotland: "The first game against England was a hard game for us. Unfortunately we conceded a goal in the last second of the game. The worst surprise was yesterday - we made only one chance to score a goal, which was very poor. Slovenia are not a very strong team in Europe. 

"I think now we need to win against Scotland because it is going to be very hard. It is a crucial moment. For a long time we have not really had a top striker. Defence was our strong point but without (Martin) Skrtel we played with three at the back. For me, this was not a good choice because we played really deep and didn't push up. Now Skrtel is back we will play with four at the back and one striker up front. (Robert) Mak plays up front but he is a winger, not a striker."

Former Celtic midfielder Lubo Moravcik
SNS

Will's Slovakia's plight help or hinder Scotland?

Alasdair Lamont

BBC Sport Scotland in Slovakia

My colleague Alasdair Lamont was in Ljubljana on Saturday to watch Slovenia beat Slovakia 1-0. Here's what he told BBC Radio Scotland Sportsound listeners about the match:

"It was pretty short on quality football. Certainly, Slovakia, with their recent pedigree of reaching the last 16 of the Euros, were pretty disappointing. I'd expect them to be better at home against Scotland. They will have to be because they have no points from their first two games 

"Given they are second seeds in the group they should have been favourites to take that play-off spot. Everyone is resigned to fighting it out for second place now behind England.

"Slovakia's defeat could really spur them on in front of their home fans, knowing they have to get a win to kick-start their campaign, or if there is a bit of negativity creeping in it could play on the minds of some of the players, the pressure might build knowing they have to get the three points. The onus will be on them to come out and attack Scotland to win the game and that might work to Scotland's advantage. It might suit Scotland to be able to play on the break."

Slovakia's Marek Hamsik will pose a threat to Scotland in Trnava
Getty Images
Slovakia's Marek Hamsik will pose a scoring threat to Scotland in Trnava

Can Strachan find vital spark?

Richard Wilson

BBC Scotland in Bratislava

The Scotland squad is on route to Bratislava and a critical moment in Gordon Strachan's time in charge of the national team.

Saturday's 1-1 draw with Lithuania at Hampden has sent anxiety and frustration scurrying through the minds of the Tartan Army, and the weight of public opinion against Strachan will only gather further if the team does not return from Slovakia with at least one point. In truth, though, in the context of Group F and World Cup qualification hopes, a win is needed.

Strachan's record in charge of Scotland in competitive games is P18 W8 D4 L6 and he can take some encouragement from away games; P9 W4 D2 L3. Two of those victories came in Malta and against Gibraltar in Portugal, but there were also wins in Croatia and Macedonia. During the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Strachan's team drew in Poland and in Dublin against the Republic of Ireland.

The manager has issues to resolve, though. James McArthur's impressive second-half display against Lithuania, and his recent good form for Crystal Palace, is a persuasive case for his inclusion in central midfield, where Darren Fletcher may be fit to play and where Strachan has tended to favour Barry Bannan. He may switch to a 4-1-4-1 shape, to try to contain Slovakia and hit on the break, but that leaves the other main question: who to play up front?

Strachan praised Chris Martin for his performance against Lithuania, but a run of 20 club games without a goal continues to undermine the striker's standing with the Scotland support. Steven Fletcher is a more technically adroit and rounded centre-forward, while Leigh Griffiths carries more of a goal threat. 

Strachan has much to ponder on the flight.

Gordon Strachan heads into Glasgow Airport
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Gordon Strachan heads into Glasgow Airport as Scotland set off for Bratislava

What we learned from Scotland v Lithuania

Rob Maclean has been mulling over what Scotland's performance against Lithuania told us. Read his views on "must-win" games, the atmosphere at Hampden, Scotland's striking options, creating more scoring chances and the talented left-back Andrew Robertson.

Read Rob's article.

Leigh Griffiths came on as a substitute to replace Matt Ritchie
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Leigh Griffiths came on as a substitute in the 71st minute to replace Matt Ritchie

One for the stats geeks

If you love nothing more than to pore over the football tables, then head over to the page on the BBC Sport website that lists all of the European qualifying groups for the 2018 World Cup. If Scotland can clinch top spot (!), then Russia here we come. But if we have to "settle" for second place in Group F, have a look at who our possible play-off opponents could be. (Health warning: it's terrifying)

A four-way fight for second place?

Alasdair Lamont

BBC Sport Scotland

The former Hearts player and now Slovakia's general team manager Robert Tomaschek believes his side and Scotland are involved in a four-way fight for second place behind England in World Cup qualifying Group F.

Tomaschek, who played at Tynecastle from 2000-2002, watched as Slovakia slumped to a second successive defeat in Slovenia.

It leaves them four points behind the Slovenians and Scotland, who face Slovakia in Trnava on Tuesday. Lithuania are on two points.

“I think realistically we are playing for second place behind England," Tomaschek admitted to BBC Scotland.

"It could end up being a four-way fight to finish second. But we have to take some points against Scotland now. 

“Most of the results in this group have been very tight so far and every game has been difficult for all of the teams. I think everyone expected Scotland to take three points against Lithuania at the weekend.

"We will have Martin Skrtel back and that will be very important for us. He is a top player for us and he will come back for us on Tuesday so we are looking forward to welcoming him back." 

Robert Tomaschek starred for Hearts from 2000-02
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May 2000:Rangers midfielder Jorg Albertz moves in to tackle Robert Tomaschek during the Slovak's time at Hearts

On the back pages

The Scottish gossip column is your best place for a summary of the wailing and snarling after Scotland's draw against Lithuania, ranked 117th by Fifa. Here's a sample of its contents:

  • Striker Chris Martin admits the "general consensus" in the Scotland squad is that they must beat Slovakia to take the pressure off Gordon Strachan and boost their qualification chances
  • Scotland midfielder Barry Bannan urges fans not to panic, insisting the qualification group will go down to the last match.
  • "Strachan can't serve up pure mince and call it filet mignon"
  • Former Hearts midfielder Robert Tomaschek, now technical team manager for Slovakia, believes the return from suspension of Martin Skrtel will be "very important" for the team.

Read the gossip column.

Too soon to rule teams out - Robertson

Hull City left-back Andrew Robertson was arguably Scotland's best player against Lithuania.

He feels that, just like Scotland, Slovakia will also be smarting about yet more dropped points, having lost 1-0 to Slovenia on Saturday to remain without a point in qualifying.

He does not believe that the hosts' hopes of reaching the World Cup finals would end with a third straight defeat.

"I don't think anyone can be eliminated at this stage," said Robertson.

"We've got them next and they will be wanting to put that right, but we'll also want to put things right too."

Full story.

Scotland left-back Andrew Robertson
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Scotland are well off for left-backs, with first choice Andrew Robertson being challenged by Celtic's Kieran Tierney and Rangers captain Lee Wallace

Good morning

It might all work out in the end, you know. Most Scotland fans will be trying to shrug off a sense of dejection after dropping two points at home to Lithuania at Hampden on Saturday night. However, there's a chance to register an important win away from home on Tuesday night when Gordon Strachan's men take on Slovakia. We'll focus on the national team today, and bring you all the other news as it happens.

Scotland defender Russell Martin
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Scotland defender Russell Martin feels the strain of dropping points at home