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Scotland stay in World Cup play-off hunt with comfortable victory over Malta

Scott Brown of Scotland and Bjorn Kristensen of Malta battle for the ball during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Scotland and Malta at Hampden Park on September 4, 2017 in...

There was a time in the not-so distant past when even the visit of Malta would have been met with an element of Scottish trepidation. It is a sign of growing confidence and improved form, to the point where a World Cup play-off berth is possible, that Gordon Strachan’s team were fully expected to see off this international football also-ran. They duly did without much fuss at all. Scotland’s Group F destiny is under their own control.

Gordon Strachan rules out resting Scotland players in danger of ban

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan issues instructions during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Scotland and England at Hampden Park National Stadium on June 10, 2017 in Glasgow,...

Scotland’s stride back into contention for a World Cup play-off place comes with a complication. With the visit of Slovakia to Glasgow next month now a key match, Gordon Strachan must hope five players – Grant Hanley, Charlie Mulgrew, Leigh Griffiths, Scott Brown and James McArthur – emerge from Monday’s game against Malta without the booking which would trigger suspension.

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Scott Brown of Scotland and Bjorn Kristensen of Malta battle for the ball during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Scotland and Malta at Hampden Park on September 4, 2017 in...

Scotland stay in World Cup play-off hunt with comfortable victory over Malta

There was a time in the not-so distant past when even the visit of Malta would have been met with an element of Scottish trepidation. It is a sign of growing confidence and improved form, to the point where a World Cup play-off berth is possible, that Gordon Strachan’s team were fully expected to see off this international football also-ran. They duly did without much fuss at all. Scotland’s Group F destiny is under their own control.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan issues instructions during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Scotland and England at Hampden Park National Stadium on June 10, 2017 in Glasgow,...

Gordon Strachan rules out resting Scotland players in danger of ban

Scotland’s stride back into contention for a World Cup play-off place comes with a complication. With the visit of Slovakia to Glasgow next month now a key match, Gordon Strachan must hope five players – Grant Hanley, Charlie Mulgrew, Leigh Griffiths, Scott Brown and James McArthur – emerge from Monday’s game against Malta without the booking which would trigger suspension.