Lubomir Moravcik expects Slovakia to pick up a point against Scotland

Lubo Moravcik
Lubo Moravcik played for Celtic for four years from 1998
World Cup qualifying: Scotland v Slovakia
Venue: Hampden Park Date: Thursday, 5 October Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Former Slovakia and Celtic star Lubomir Moravcik believes a draw is the likely outcome when his countrymen face Scotland on Thursday at Hampden.

The Scots must win to keep hopes of a second place-finish alive in World Cup qualifying Group F.

The countries are in a three-way battle with Slovenia for the runner-up spot - and a potential play-off place.

"Slovakia are in the best position because for Slovenia to win in England is going to be hard," Moravcik said.

"Even if Scotland beat Slovakia, they must go to Slovenia and win."

With two games left to play in Group F, Slovakia come to Glasgow knowing a draw would almost certainly leave them best-placed to finish second.

Lubomir Moravcik
Lubomir Moravcik made himself a fans' favourite during his four-year spell at Celtic Park

From the nine European qualifying groups, only the eight best runners-up will reach the play-offs, with Group F currently well-placed to take one of the berths.

Moravcik singled out Napoli's Marek Hamsik and Stanislav Lobotka of Celta Vigo as the key players for Slovakia as they aim to qualify for their second tournament in a row.

"Slovakia played very well in England in the first 20 minutes, scored a goal and conceded very stupid goals and lost the game when they maybe deserved a draw," Moravcik added.

"Scotland are slight favourites because they're playing at home. I know in Scotland the fans are a very important part of the game.

"The most likely result for me is a draw but Slovakia won't come only to defend. They played very well against England, who are a strong team, and kept the ball very well in the first 20 minutes.

"That is the way to come to Scotland, playing this football. Everything depends on the current form of all the players and Slovakia have been struggling because Vladimir Weiss didn't play regularly, the defence didn't play regularly - Martin Skrtel, Peter Pekarik."

Moravcik believes the core of Celtic players involved in the national team has been of great benefit to Gordon Strachan and feels Callum McGregor could come straight into the team on Thursday.

"Scotland started the campaign very badly and have now improved with the Celtic players playing an important part," he said.

Marek Hamsik
Marek Hamsik is now just one goal short of Diego Maradona's all-time record of 115 goals for Napoli

"Obviously Scott Brown and Stuart Armstrong are out, which is a problem, but Darren Fletcher is back, which is good news.

"Armstrong will be missed for the offensive part of the Scottish game and Brown for the spirit of the team - he is the leader of the group.

"McGregor is technically good. Maybe he'll start, why not? It sometimes happens - you need a player like that, Armstrong is out, McGregor plays this position in the Celtic team, why not the same position in the national team?"

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