Scotland squad: Who will Gordon Strachan pick for Lithuania?

Gordon Strachan
Gordon Strachan is trying to lead Scotland to their first major championships since France 1998

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan names his squad for the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Malta on Monday.

Fourth in Group F on eight points from six matches, Strachan's side trail leaders England by six points. Slovakia occupy second spot on 12 points, with Slovenia on 11.

The Scots visit Lithuania on 1 September and entertain Malta three days later, and only wins will do to keep the slim hopes of reaching Russia 2018 alive.

Group F

So who will Strachan put his faith in to secure the six points required?

Last time out, Leigh Griffiths produced two magical free-kicks in quick succession, but a late Harry Kane goal earned England a 2-2 draw at Hampden.

Here, BBC Scotland takes a look at the form of some Scotland regulars, and assesses who might force their way into Strachan's plans.

Scotland v England

Goalkeepers

In squad for England match - Craig Gordon (Celtic), David Marshall (Hull City), Allan McGregor (Hull City)

In the wake of the draw with England, regular number one Craig Gordon came in for criticism over the two goals he conceded. It was suggested by some that he should have done better with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's strike and could have come for the cross that led to Kane's stoppage-time leveller.

His back-ups in the squad for the England match were both from Hull City, David Marshall and Allan McGregor. The latter has started the first four matches of Hull's Championship campaign, with Marshall injured, and looks the more likely to be challenging Gordon for that spot against Lithuania.

Strachan is known for his loyalty, however, and it would register as a major surprise if anyone other than Gordon takes to the field on 1 September.

Craig Gordon
Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon is likely to be the man between the sticks in Lithuania

Defenders

In squad for England match - Ikechi Anya (Derby County), Christophe Berra (Hearts), Stephen Kingsley (Swansea City), Russell Martin (Norwich City), Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), Mark Reynolds (Aberdeen), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool), Kieran Tierney (Celtic)

An area of real feast and famine for Scotland. In Kieran Tierney and Andrew Robertson, Strachan has possibly the two finest players at his disposal. The only problem is they are both left-backs.

Tierney, 20, continues to add to his growing reputation with some fantastic displays at home and in Europe for Celtic, while Robertson made a summer move to Liverpool and earned the man of the match award on his debut against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Luckily for Strachan, Tierney has already shown he can play at right-back, and even centre-back if required, so both players can play in the same side.

Kieran Tierney goal
As well as further proving his versatility in recent weeks, Kieran Tierney scored a sensational goal against Kilmarnock in the League Cup

The centre of defence is a problem area. Charlie Mulgrew and Christophe Berra filled those slots against England but there is undoubtedly a dearth of candidates to provide competition. Given his recent displays for Celtic at centre-half, could Tierney fill that role in Lithuania?

Midfielders

In squad for England match - Stuart Armstrong (Celtic), Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday), Scott Brown (Celtic), Tom Cairney (Fulham), Darren Fletcher (Stoke City), Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth), James Forrest (Celtic), James McArthur (Crystal Palace), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Robert Snodgrass (West Ham United)

Strachan has bags of options in midfield, with so many playing their football at a high level and being in excellent form in recent seasons. Last time out, the manager was able to leave Darren Fletcher and James McArthur out of his starting line-up, with in-form Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney also left on the bench.

Robert Snodgrass has been told he can leave West Ham, who paid more than £10m for his services in January, but that is unlikely to affect Strachan's selection.

Having been unavailable for the England match, Brighton's Jamie Murphy, Aberdeen's Kenny McLean and Hibernian's John McGinn could be involved. Aberdeen's Graeme Shinnie and Callum McGregor of Celtic have also made great starts to the season and may factor in Strachan's plans.

Robert Snodgrass
Robert Snodgrass could be set to leave West Ham before the transfer window closes

Strikers

In squad for England match - Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Chris Martin (Derby County), Steven Naismith (Norwich City)

This is likely to be one of the manager's easiest decisions given what Griffiths did against England. The Celtic star hadn't scored for the national side until the last few minutes of that match, when he beat Joe Hart twice with free-kicks from distance to put the Scots on the brink of victory. That wasn't to be, but Griffiths did his part and barring injury or illness, it would be a major shock if he doesn't lead the line in Lithuania.

Leigh Griffiths scores
Leigh Griffiths scored two brilliant free-kicks against England to open his Scotland account

Chris Martin did Strachan a great turn by netting a late winner against Slovenia and his physicality could be a useful option away from home.

Sheffield Wednesday striker Steven Fletcher was unavailable for the England match but he is fit again and scored against Fulham on Saturday, so he could be an option from the bench.

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