Scotland v Georgia: Who will feature for the visitors?

By Liam McLeodBBC Scotland
Solomon Kverkvelia and Robbie Keane
Georgia lost 2-1 to Republic of Ireland in their opening qualifier
Scotland v Georgia- European 2016 qualifying
Date: Saturday, 11 October. Venue: Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow. Kick-off: 17:00 BST.
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Scotland & online. Live text coverage on BBC Sport website.

The draw for the Euro 2016 qualifiers was made in February and, as is standard, Uefa pointed Scotland down a tricky, foreboding, darkened alley.

There was the quick realisation that the three sides drawn directly above the Scots were three of the 16 finalists at the last Euro finals - albeit Poland were co-hosting the extravaganza with Ukraine.

Germany's profitable summer excursion to Brazil also ensured that, for a third successive European qualification campaign, Scotland would have to contend with the incumbent world champions.

Despite this archetypal scenario and a battling 2-1 opening defeat by the Germans, the Scotland squad will head into Saturday's second qualifier against fifth-seeded Georgia with reason to feel sprightly.

The camp themselves are keen to push for "points rather than praise" and the match at Ibrox represents an outstanding opportunity to do just that.

After all, this is a Georgia side who have won just three of their last 30 competitive matches, which incidentally dates back to October 2007 and one of the Scottish national team's biggest recent anti-climaxes.

Scotland's opening qualifiersGeorgia's opening qualifiers
Germany 2-1 Scotland (7 Sept)Republic of Ireland 1-2 Georgia (7 Sept)
Scotland v Georgia (11 Oct)Scotland v Georgia (11 Oct)
Poland v Scotland (14 Oct)Gibraltar v Georgia (14 Oct)
Scotland v Republic of Ireland (14 Nov)Germany v Georgia (14 Oct)

That takes us to the qualifiers for Euro 2008, when the Georgians all but ended Alex McLeish's hopes of taking the national team back to a major tournament.

Yes, Italy's Christian Panucci and Spanish referee Manuel Gonzalez did their bit in the next match, but it was a 2-0 loss in Tbilisi a month earlier that did the real damage.

In truth, it is a result that should be viewed alongside some of the worst in recent memory, even if it did not create the headlines of the 2002 draw with Faroe Islands in Toftir, defeat by Peru at Argentina in 1978, or Juan Cayasso's 1990 World Cup sickener in Genoa for Costa Rica.

Georgia were shorn of several top names and forced to field three teenagers against a Scotland side top of their group with two to play.

As it transpired, a win would have secured the Scots' qualification in second place, ahead of France. It was a silent but deadly bullet before the Italians applied the killer touch.

One of Georgia's main forwards nowadays was one of the teenagers that night. Indeed - then 17 - he scored the opening goal.

Levan Mchedlidze
Empoli's Levan Mchedlidze will miss the match at Ibrox

Levan Mchedlidze plays for Empoli in Italy's Serie A, but a calf strain has robbed manager Temuri Ketsbaia of the striker for this one.

His loss is tempered by the fact he has struck just once for the national team since slotting past Craig Gordon almost seven years ago.

His place goes to Vladimir Dvalishvili, who plies his trade in Denmark with Odense. He may end up being a better option than Mchedlidze.

The 28-year-old had a goal-every-other-game record for Maccabi Haifa, Legia Warsaw, Skonto Riga and back in the Polish capital with Polonia before his summer move to Scandinavia.

The central striker's role was fulfilled by Albanian side Flamurtari's frontman, Nikoloz Gelashvili, during last month's 2-1 home defeat by Republic of Ireland.

But he has yet to score for his country, whereas the other has five.

Spartak Moscow's Jano Ananidze could start on the left of a frontline or just behind the striker. The 21-year-old is arguably the highest-rated player in the Georgian squad, with the national side ranked 110 in the world.

Ketsbaia will put a lot of onus on the one-time Liverpool and Arsenal target, with the coach's future reportedly resting on a result in Glasgow after their last-gasp loss to an Aiden McGeady-inspired Irish.

Like McGeady, Ananidze has the potential to be a match-winner and Scotland will have to be wary of his talents.

Arguably, more of a blow to the former Dundee and Newcastle midfielder is the loss to injury of experienced Vitesse Arnhem defender Guram Kashia, who played well in a holding role against the Irish.

Captain Jaba Kankava is one of the most experienced players in the squad and will earn his 50th cap in midfield at Ibrox.

Jaba Kankava playing for Dnipro
Dnipro's Jaba Kankava will reach a half-century of caps against the Scots

He has been with his club, Dnipro, since 2007 and featured against Aberdeen in a Uefa Cup qualifier in his first season in Ukraine. Still only 28, he has been in the national team for a decade.

Left-back David Kvirkvelia is the most capped man in the squad. He featured in both previous matches against the Scots.

One look at Tornike Okriashvili's goal against the Irish last month is all you require to realise the threat that he will pose Gordon Strachan's team. His howitzer left goalkeeper David Forde clawing at thin air.

Okriashvili plays for McLeish at Racing Genk in Belgium and could complement Ananidze on the opposing flank.

Ketsbaia has tinkered with the goalkeeping position over the years, although it appears his number one choice for this campaign will be Georgi Loria.

He has just joined Greek Superleague club OFI Crete, who are managed by former Rangers midfielder Rino Gattuso.

Gattuso was in the Italy midfield that soaking wet November evening when Panucci broke Scottish hearts in 2007.

A chance to right some wrongs from the turmoil in Tbilisi that preceded that night would provide Scotland boss Gordon Strachan with solid foundations to build upon before the altogether trickier but equally important trip to Poland.