Former Hearts winger Arvydas Novikovas insists plastic pitch will be advantage to Lithuania when Scotland visit



Former Hearts winger Arvydas Novikovas insists Lithuania’s plastic pitch can be an advantage to Edgaras Jankauskas’ side when they host Scotland in September.

Lithuania play their matches on the artificial surface at the LFF stadium and were condemned to their first home defeat of the Group F World Cup qualifying campaign in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Slovakia.

Scotland need to win in Vilnius to have any chance of finishing in a runners-up place but Jagiellonia Bialystok playmaker Novikovas, who played for Hearts between 2008 and 2013, insists the pitch could aid Lithuania.

LFF stadium in Vilnius

He said: “Maybe we have a little advantage because we play there for every qualifying match, but it’s really little.

“I do not think it will be our big advantage. Everyone plays better on natural turf as most of the players play on that at their clubs, and there is probably a greater risk of injury playing on the artificial surface.”

Lithuania remain fifth in the table with six points but Novikovas insists they were unlucky not to collect at least a point against Slovakia.

He added: “We played well and I did not think we were inferior to them during the game. Everyone saw that we created more chances.

“We created more just chances but we weren’t able to take them.”