Scotland v Lithuania

Steven Fletcher (left) looks on as Robert Snodgrass plays a pass in Scotland training on Friday

Will Steven Fletcher (left) reclaim a starting spot alongside Robert Snodgrass or will Chris Martin remain up front?

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Scotland boss Gordon Strachan will make a late decision on his starting 11 as his side aim to build on an opening win in Malta with victory over Lithuania.

Strachan is likely to keep changes to a minimum but has selection dilemmas at left-back, midfield and up front.

Full-back Kieran Tierney, midfielder James McArthur and winger James Forrest have all been in good form of late.

Chris Martin could retain the striker’s role he performed in Malta, with Steven Fletcher also pushing for a recall.

Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.

But Hearts’ Callum Paterson is set to retain his place at right-back, with centre-back Russell Martin providing cover after the withdrawal earlier in the week of the only other recognised right-back, Alan Hutton.

Martin is likely to resume his central defensive partnership with Grant Hanley, despite the latter only starting one game for Newcastle in the past month.

‘No targets’ for double-header – Strachan

Scotland sit top of World Cup Qualifying Group F on goal difference from England after their 5-1 win in Malta.

The next four days gives them a chance to build on that strong start, hosting Lithuania – ranked 117 in Fifa’s world rankings – at Hampden before travelling to face the group’s second seeds, Slovakia.

Strachan refuses to set any targets for the double-header, however.

“I’ve never made any targets in my life for anything I do,” said the 59-year-old. “I just get on and do it and just live in the present.

“Some managers do that, but if you don’t achieve what you’re after then you can disappoint yourself and disappoint everybody, so you just get on and see where we go.”

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Strachan ‘impressed’ by Lithuania

Scotland and Lithuania are familiar foes, having been drawn together in four consecutive European Championships qualifying campaigns, from Euro 2000 to Euro 2012.

The Scots are unbeaten in their last five meetings and have won five of their eight matches, including all four at home, and lost just once – a 1-0 defeat in Kaunas in 2003 during Berti Vogts’ reign.

Lithuania’s own campaign started brightly when they led Slovenia 2-0 at home but conceded two late goals and had to settle for a point after a 2-2 draw.

Their head coach is 41-year-old former Hearts striker Edgaras Jankauskas, who won the 2006 Scottish Cup with the Edinburgh club at Hampden Park.


Lithuania coach Edgaras Jankauskas has happy memories of Hampden Park

“We all know and accept that we are not the favourites,” he said. “But all good and bad runs have to end at some point. I am not too concerned about the stats. What bothers me more is my team – the way we face such a strong, physical team as Scotland.

“The last few games have given us a good feeling and more confidence in ourselves. That is important before such a big game.”

‘Only victory will be acceptable for Scotland’

Jankauskas has two other former Hearts players in his squad – 35-year-old defender Deividas Cesnauskis, now back in his homeland with Trakai, and 25-year-old midfielder Arvydas Novikovas, now of Bochum in the German Bundesliga’s second tier.

The coach insists all the pressure is on the hosts on Saturday.

“It isn’t a secret that Scotland have more pressure on their shoulders than we do,” he added. “We know that we are the underdogs.

“I have no doubt that Scotland will have a go at us and the only result they will accept is victory.

“We know how strong Scotland are. We know we have to put in a very strong performance to match them. But we are a very united squad and that is our main force – our unity.”

Squads for Scotland v Lithuania


Goalkeepers: Craig Gordon (Celtic), Jack Hamilton (Hearts), David Marshall (Hull City).

Defenders: Christophe Berra (Ipswich Town), Gordon Greer (Blackburn Rovers), Grant Hanley (Newcastle United), Russell Martin (Norwich City), Callum Paterson (Hearts), Andrew Robertson (Hull City), Kieran Tierney (Celtic), Lee Wallace (Rangers).

Midfielders: Ikechi Anya (Derby County), Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday), Oliver Burke (RB Leipzig), Darren Fletcher (West Bromwich Albion), James Forrest (Celtic), James McArthur (Crystal Palace), John McGinn (Hibs), Barrie McKay (Rangers), Shaun Maloney (Hull City), James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion), Matt Ritchie (Newcastle United), Robert Snodgrass (Hull City).

Forwards: Steven Fletcher (Sheffield Wednesday), Leigh Griffiths (Celtic), Chris Martin (Derby County), Steven Naismith (Norwich City).


Goalkeepers: Emilijus Zubas (Bnei Yehuda), Ernestas Setkus (Den Haag), Saulius Klevinskas (Zalgiris Vilnius).

Defenders: Deividas Cesnauskis (Trakai), Egidijus Vaitkunas (Zalgiris Vilnius), Georgas Freidgeimas (Irtysh Pavlodar), Vytautas Andriuskevicius (Portland Timbers), Tomas Mikuckis (Energiya Khabarovsk), Vaidas Slavickas (Suduva Marijampole), Linas Klimavicius (Zalgiris Vilnius), Edvinas Girdvainis (Piast Gliwice).

Midfielders: Arvydas Novikovas (Bochum), Vytautas Luksa (Zalgiris Vilnius), Arturas Zulpa (Tobol Kostanay), Matas Kyklys (Zalgiris Vilnius), Karolis Chvedukas (Split), Vykintas Slivka (Den Bosch), Simonas Paulius (Ventspils), Mindaugas Grigaravicius (Jelgava), Ovidijus Verbickas (Atlantas).

Forwards: Fiodor Cernych (Jagiellonia Bialystok), Deivydas Matulevicius (Botosani), Nerijus Valskis (Trakai).

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